Basically, it was too flamin’ hot in Straya during February to buy clothes.

Don’t laugh, this is literally what happened.

Headline retail sales shrank 0.1 per cent month-on-month in February, down from growth of 0.4 per cent the previous month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Expectations were for a 0.3 per cent advance.

The clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing category saw the biggest fall in seasonally adjusted terms, down 2.5 per cent. Within that, clothing retailing was down 2.9 per cent and footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 1.9 per cent.

Food retailing (up 0.3 per cent) and department stores (up 0.8 per cent) struggled to offset the declines.

The Australian dollar fell upon the release of the data and has remained the worst-performing major currency today. In European trading, the dollarydoo was down 0.4 per cent at $0.7598, and below $0.76 for only the second time since mid-March.

Analysts said it was likely sales of the autumn ranges of clothes and boots were hit by the hot weather, and could bounce back later owing to what was a relatively wet March.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology noted the national mean temperature for February was 0.33°C above average, and that the 2016-17 summer in the country saw “prolonged and, at times, extreme heat over New South Wales, southern Queensland, South Australia and parts of northern Victoria.”

A bit uncomfortable, yes. But you think we’d trade it for an English summer? Phht, not on your life.

Chart courtesy of Bloomberg

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