Following a 0.4 per cent rise the previous month, the latest ABS retail trade figures show that retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in October.

The National Retailers Association (NRA) has described it as a modest but continued growth, indicating that it is a good sign for business owners.

NRA executive director Gary Black said the growth during October, particularly in the areas of food and household goods, was a welcome boost leading into the important Christmas trading period.

“It’s no secret that 2011 has been another difficult trading year for the retail sector. But with this increase in retail activity in October, coupled with the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut interest rates in November, points to a stronger Christmas period. This in turn will flow through to greater employment prospects in 2012,” Black said.

The ABS reported that turnover rose in food retailing (0.5 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.2 per cent), household goods retailing (0.2 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent).

The only downfall was in department stores (-0.7 per cent) and other retailing (-0.4 per cent).

Black said while department stores continue to decline, the rate of negative growth has clearly slowed.

“There are definite signs that the trend is improving, and the sector is experiencing some revitalisation. This would be further assisted by another rates increase when the Reserve Bank Board meets next week,” he said.

In the state-by-state comparison, Western Australia continues to be the stand out, with growth of almost 10 per cent in the year to October, seasonally adjusted.