ASX 200 retail shares lift as Aussies head into Christmas with $240bn in savings

‘Tis the season to be jolly, particularly for retailers it seems.

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ASX 200 retail shares a woman smiles over the top of multiple shopping bags she is holding in both hands up near her face.

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Christmas may be coming early for ASX 200 retail shares with the latest consumer survey pointing to a spending spree heading into the holiday season.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) today released its Household Spending Intentions (HSI) Index for November 2021, which hit its highest level since December 2019. The Index, which gauges Australian consumer spending, jumped 2.1% to 110.3 in November.

While the index will put a smile on the faces of ASX retailers, some are set to benefit more than others.

$240bn boost for ASX 200 retail shares

Interestingly, ASX investors may not have caught on to this just yet as just about all ASX shares in the sector rallied today. This caused the Consumer Discretionary sector to rise 1.6% when the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) gained just under 1%.

Expectations of a spend-a-thon are backed by the $240 billion in savings that households have stashed away during COVID-19 lockdowns.

But, as mentioned, not all retailers are likely to benefit to the same degree.

ASX 200 retail shares best placed to benefit

Within the HSI index, spending on transport recorded the biggest rise of 21.5%. This was followed by travel at 14.7%, retail at 9.6%, and household services at 9.4%.

The strong rise in the transport category bodes well for the Ampol Ltd (ASX: ALD) and Bapcor Ltd (ASX: BAP) share prices.

Holiday-deprived Aussies are also looking to spend big on their next getaway. Travel spending surged 77% since the Delta lockdown low in August this year, according to CBA. The biggest increases were for accommodation, travel agents, airlines, and tourist attractions.

That’s good news for the share prices of Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB), Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) and Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN).

Other ASX retailers benefitting from spending spree tailwinds

Our best-known retailers will also be sharing in the Christmas cheer. Some of the strongest increases within this category went to department stores, clothing, furniture and household equipment, electronic stores, and household appliances.

Some of the better-placed shares in this segment are Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN), Accent Group Ltd (ASX: AX1) and Kogan.com Ltd (ASX: KGN).

Positive outlook

The good times could continue to roll as the economic recovery extends into 2022.

“The CommBank HSI Index has shown a continued and broad based recovery in consumer spending since the end of lockdowns,” CBA Chief Economist Stephen Halmarick said.

“While we have seen sharp increases in categories like transport and travel, there is still plenty of room for further growth.”

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Motley Fool contributor Brendon Lau owns shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Kogan.com ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. and Kogan.com ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Accent Group, Bapcor, Flight Centre Travel Group Limited, and Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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