By Martin Vedris

Another confidence boost for retailers, on top of falling fuel prices and another interest rate cut, is that despite the impending gloom, retail sales were up for a third straight month, albeit slightly. The news is not so great for the household goods sector, including electrical appliances.

The latest available retail sales data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that total retail turnover across the country increased by 0.2 per cent in October 2008. This is the second consecutive monthly increase of 0.2 per cent.

The biggest sector gains in October were Food retailing (+0.6 per cent) and other retailing (+0.8 per cent), which comprises a mixed bag including newsagency, sporting and recreation goods, pharmaceutical and jewellery.

Household good retailing, which includes consumer electrical goods, experienced the biggest decline of -0.7 per cent in October. Also, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were down -0.6 per cent.

All states were up in retail sales except New South Wales which was down -0.2 per cent. States with the largest growth were the Northern Territory (+0.8 per cent), South Australia (+0.5 per cent) and Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (all +0.4 per cent).