February 4, 2013 / 1:10 AM / in 5 years

Australia online sales edge off peaks in December-NAB

SYDNEY, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A measure of online sales in Australia pulled back from record high in December as the seasonal rush of Christmas shopping peaked, though the pace of sales growth remained far above that for bricks and mortar stores.

National Australia Bank’s index of online sales dipped 5.8 percent in December to 227 points, unwinding part of November’s 15 percent spike. Annual growth in the index cooled a little to 22.8 percent, from 26.5 percent in November.

NAB said the move was largely seasonal, with November being the peak month for online sales which allows time for goods to be delivered ahead of Christmas.

The index put the value of online sales in Australia at A$12.8 billion ($13.3 billion) for the whole of 2012. That equals around 5.8 percent of overall retail spending and has been consistently growing far faster than sales in traditional stores.

The survey found domestic sales accounted for around 73 percent of total online sales.

Official data on sales for the retail sector are due on Wednesday and analysts expect a modest increase of around 0.3 percent for December.

NAB, in conjunction with data analytics firm Quantium, has estimated an index of online sale based on two million non-cash transactions per day, scaled up to replicate the broad economy. (Reporting by Wayne Cole)

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