The 0.5 per cent retail turnover rise in September has been warmly welcomed by retailers, following a 0.3 per cent increase in August.

“The Spring racing carnival is top of mind today, and the season’s first month has certainly been a winning one for the retail sector. This is particularly important considering September was a month without stimulus from a cash rate cut or Government stimulus,” Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond said.

The largest contributor to the rise was food retailing (0.6 per cent), followed by household goods retailing (1.2 per cent), other retailing (0.8 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.5 per cent).

These rises were partially offset by falls in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.6per cent) and department stores (-0.5 per cent). The largest contributor to growth over the longer term is food retailing (up 0.4 per cent in trend terms).

National Retail Association (NRA) chief executive officer Trevor Evans said the growth had been in essential shopping areas such as in food and household goods. However, spending in discretionary areas such as footwear, clothing and department store goods had all fallen.

“This 0.5 per cent growth figure is welcome, but it is unfortunately accompanied by a similar retraction in those discretionary spending areas,” he said. 

“This shows the sector is still very much trading in difficult conditions.

“The coming two months represent a very significant proportion of annual income for store owners.  Importantly Christmas sales can give retailers an economic buffer that allows them to continue trading – and creating employment – throughout the quieter parts of the year.”

Turnover rose in all states and territories in September 2012. The largest contributor to the rise was New South Wales (0.5per cent), followed by Western Australia (1.2per cent) and South Australia (0.8 per cent)