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Australian retail turnover declined by 0.1 per cent in July (seasonally adjusted) according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

This decline follows a 0.4 per cent rise in June. 

ABS director of quarterly economy wide surveys Ben James said that two thirds of the industries the body tracks experienced declines. 

"There were falls in four of the six industries and six of the eight states and territories in July. 

"Cafes, restaurants and takeaway services (-0.6 per cent) led the falls.

"There were also falls in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.0 per cent), Other retailing (-0.4 per cent), and Department stores (-0.2 per cent).

"Food retailing (0.3 per cent), and Household goods retailing (0.1 per cent) rose this month," he said. 

Geographically, Queensland (-0.2 per cent), New South Wales (-0.1 per cent), South Australia (-0.5 per cent), Victoria (-0.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5 per cent), and Tasmania (-0.1 per cent) experienced declines in July, while  Western Australia (0.6 per cent), and the Northern Territory (0.3 per cent) increased. 

According to the ABS stats, online retail contributed 6.1 per cent to the total retail turnover – the same contribution it made in June. In July 2018 online retail turnover contributed 5.5 per cent. 

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said that despite the government's measures to boost spending, the results show that consumer confidence is still low.

"The July results are not good news for retailers, we were hopeful of far better figures following a strong sales performance for June. 

"A drop in turnover shows that consumer confidence remains stubbornly low, despite measures such as the personal tax cuts and reduction in interest rates.

"It’s important during this period that people support retailers, particularly local small businesses, as we begin the march towards Christmas. 

"Retail is one of the largest sectors in Australia and the biggest employer of young people, so it’s importance to the overall economy cannot be overstated.

"The NRA urges Aussie shoppers to not shy away from spending any extra money they’ve received in tax cuts or the drop in interest rates at their local retail outlet," she said. 

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