There’s a sigh of relief among Australian retailers as the Reserve Bank of Australia has decided to hold the cash rate unchanged at 4.75 per cent.

RBA governor Glenn Stevens said in a statement that Australia’s overall “financial conditions for the global economy remain accommodative” and that the RBA recognised the household sector continues to be cautious in spending and borrowing.

This news has been welcomed by the National Retail Association (NRA), following last week’s Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) figures that showed a growth in retail trade in April.

NRA executive director Gary Black said from a retailer’s perspective, an interest rate increase in the future would hit hardest those sectors that are already suffering.

“Despite the growth that was seen in last week’s retail figures, particularly in the food sector, we continue to face heavy competition from overseas online outlets and we saw that in other sectors such as clothing and footwear,” he said.

“The industry is definitely still suffering in many areas, and will take a long time to build up again to pre-GFC levels.

“In these conditions, for the RBA to have raised rates now would have sent those modest gains reported last week into reverse.”