Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in January according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


This rise follows a 0.4 per cent decline in December 2018.


Other retailing experience the biggest rise – 0.7 per cent – while Food retailing and Cafes, restaurant and takeaway services both rose 0.3 per cent each.


Department stores experienced the biggest decline – 2.1 per cent – and Clothing, footwear and personal accessories slipped 0.3 per cent in January. Household goods retailing remained stable in January with a zero per cent change either way.


Online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to the total retail turnover, which is the same as December 2018. In January 2018, the online retail contribution was 4.7 per cent.


Executive director of the ARA, Russell Zimmerman, said that the figures were softer than anticipated.


“As we forecasted a 3.1 per cent increase in post-Christmas trade and predicted Australians would spend almost $18.3 billion from December 26, 2018 to January 15, 2019, [the] figures are slightly less than what we anticipated.


“While December sales started off strong, it seems to have slightly lowered for January. Despite today’s amicable figures, the ARA will continue to partner with Roy Morgan annually to deliver the only professionally researched retail industry predictions.


“While consumer sentiment has been at the forefront of media discussion recently, it is pleasing to see that the Cafés, restaurants and takeaway category has recorded strong consecutive growth over the last three months.


“This could be indicative of consumers feeling more confident to spend on small luxuries and we hope this trend will continue to increase and spill into other retail categories across the retail sector,” he said.


To read the full ABS report, click here.


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