Consumers continued to increase their appetite for spending in November, according to the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI).

The BSI rose 0.3 per cent in November, following similar gains in both September and October.

The number of sectors reporting weaker sales eased from five in October to four in November. Another two sectors once again recorded flat growth. Clothing stores recorded the strongest gain in November up 1.0 per cent followed by Professional Services and Membership Organisations up 0.8 per cent and Retail Stores, Mail Order/Telephone Order Providers and Contracted Services all up 0.7 per cent.

According to Matt Comyn, executive general manager, local business banking, Commonwealth Bank, although the overall consumer attitude remained cautious, the uplift in sales continued to be a good news story as retailers prepared for the Christmas sales period.

“The fact that consumers are more willing to spend now than they were earlier this year is a positive sign, particularly for this time of year,” he said.

“The November figures factor in the first rate reduction witnessed this year, so it’s possible that the latest announcement from the Reserve Bank this month may act as a trigger to encourage additional spending. However, the reasons behind the decision, namely the crisis in Europe, will also have an impact on the consumer mood.

“It has been a tough year for a large number of Australian businesses. As a result, many will be looking to capitalise on what they hope will be a busier trading period as shoppers visit stores to make Christmas-related purchases.”