As the nation stopped to watch the Melbourne Cup race, retailers held to their breaths for the Reserve Bank’s decision on the cash rate.

The RBA board announced that it will leave the cash rate unchanged at 3.25 per cent, leaving retailers disappointed.

National Retail Association chief executive Trevor Evans said retailers would be disappointed the RBA board had failed to act on this week’s ABS figures which showed discretionary spending in decline, and only essential items such as food and groceries keeping the sector in positive territory.

“Retail trade figures have been volatile in recent months, and while there has been modest growth in some areas a Cup Day rate cut would have helped turn this into a longer-term trend,” he said.

“However, we believe there is still time for the RBA to deliver a Christmas gift to business owners, workers and consumers, by cutting rates at its December meeting.

“Retailers desperately need a strong and healthy pre-Christmas trading period to give them the economic buffer they need to continue trading and employing staff throughout the quieter parts of the year.

“Retail is one of the nation’s largest employers, particularly of lower-skilled and casual workers. A strong retail sector is good for the entire economy, and a December rates cut will give the sector some much-needed help.”