Following a fall of 0.1 per cent in December 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures have shown that Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in January 2012.

The rise was driven by cafes, restaurants and catering services (6.6 per cent) which is a subgroup of cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (4.3 per cent).

Across the remaining industry groups, turnover rose in other retailing (0.2 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.1 per cent) and fell in household goods retailing (-1.8 per cent) and department stores (-0.2 per cent). Food retailing (0.0 per cent) was relatively unchanged.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said while trade figures meant some good news for the retail sector, the boost was a reflection of the current consumer mindset which is to wait for bargains before pouncing to spend.

“Clothing and footwear retailers who have enjoyed their first year on year boost for seven months of 1.8 percent. The last time the clothing and footwear category showed any year on year growth was last April, and soft sales over Christmas showed the festive season wasn’t even enough of an enticer for reticent consumers," he said.

“While retailers in the clothing and footwear category have seen relief, it’s still a sad state of affairs when the only way to entice consumers is to discount heavily and stir up a shopping frenzy. Retailers need lasting relief rather than the short term reprieve brought about by sales hype."

By state, the largest contributors were the Northern Territory (3.5 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (2.1 per cent), Queensland (1.7 per cent) and Western Australia (1.0 per cent). These rises were offset by falls in New South Wales (-0.5 per cent), Victoria (-0.4 per cent) and South Australia (-0.3 per cent).

In trend terms, turnover rose 0.1% in January 2012. This follows a rise of 0.1% in December 2011 and a rise of 0.2% in November 2011.