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Australian shoppers spend up in win for economy

Australia’s retail sales posted a fourth straight month of solid growth in November and current indications show shops are enjoying a bumper Christmas season as stronger employment and falling fuel prices prop up consumer sentiment.

Friday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed retail sales rose 0.4 percent in November, from October when they increased by an upwardly revised 0.6 percent. The biggest gains came in homewares, clothing and eating out.

Combined with record demand for new cars, consumers are doing their part to offset a mining slump. Household spending accounts for 56 percent of Australia’s AUD1.6 trillion annual economic output, while mining is less than 9 percent.