Today's print of the ABS retail trade series included a horror story for department stores ... which have not grown significantly (in nominal dollars and trend terms) since the onset of the global financial crisis.
While not unusual - big movements in the seasonally adjusted series have occurred before - it may just have some store owners (share holders) on the edge of their seats.
Update: thinking about this some more, the previous big spikes in the department store series might have been associated with the first and second stimulus packages, where payments were made in December 2008, and between March and May 2009 (see Andrew Leigh's paper here). The latest spike might have been related to the new school kids bonus and the carbon tax compensation, which were paid in May and June 2012. Even so, this probably only explains half the drop with the latest print.
The growth stories were as follows ... noting an overall decline for the month in seasonally adjusted terms.
The cafe-led recovery continues!
On to the states ... all of which declined in seasonally adjusted terms month-on-month to July 2012.