By Aimee Chanthadavong

Since the last retail trade figures were recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a new federal government has come into power, bringing with it returned consumer confidence.

This is reflective of the Australian retail turnover, which rose 0.4 per cent in August 2013, seasonally adjusted, follow a 0.1 per cent rise in July 2013.

The largest contributor to the rise in August 2013 was department stores (6.4 per cent) followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.3 per cent) and food retailing (0.1 per cent).

NRA chief executive Trevor Evans said the very large jump in department stores showed retail was on rise as the uncertainty around the election date was relieved.

“After a year-long campaign we can see consumer confidence has finally been boosted by the certainty of an election and hope for a stable and forward-looking government,” he said.

“Shoppers are clearly getting a little looser with their purse strings as we have recorded growth across most areas.

“Now that a stable government with a strong majority has been delivered I’m sure we will continue to see a steady rise in retail results over the coming months.”

The rises were partially offset by falls in household goods retailing (-0.6 per cent) and other retailing (-0.2 per cent). Over the longer term, the largest contributor to the strength is food retailing (up 0.1 per cent in trend terms).

“In the months leading up to the federal election, consumers were experiencing very low levels of confidence and therefore keeping a firm grip on their wallets,” Russell Zimmerman from the Australian Retailers Association said.

“The retail trade figures illustrate that consumer confidence and retail sales picked up as we got closer to the election.

"Consumers and businesses need a strong and stable government with pro-business consistent policies in order to allow consumers to regain the confidence to spend. We hope the September retail trade figures follow the same trend and continue to rise.”

The state which was the largest contributor to the rise was Victoria (0.6 per cent) followed by New South Wales (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.7 per cent), Queensland (0.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.3 per cent) and Tasmania (0.3 per cent).