Australia retail sales rise strong 0.9% in May

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SYDNEY — Australian retail sales again beat expectations in May as consumers spent more on eating out and in department stores, suggesting demand is proving resilient in the face of surging inflation and rising interest rates.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Wednesday showed retail sales rose 0.9% in May, the fifth straight month of growth and double market forecasts of a 0.4% increase.

Sale values were a record A$34.2 billion ($23.64 billion), up a hefty 10.4% on May last year when lockdowns were keeping many shoppers at home, though some of that reflects higher prices rather than volumes. ($1 = 1.4470 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Wayne Cole Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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