Retail trade figures has grown a mere 0.1 per cent in August to 0.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent in July.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that retail turnover is heading slowly towards an upward direction as household goods retailing, food retailing, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and other retailing experience positive results.

According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the moderate boost is owed to a consumer trend towards home improvements and nesting with other retail categories.

“Groceries and household goods have shown both month on month and year on year boosts showing consumers are retreating into their homes rather than spending in department stores and on eating out,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

“Compared to August last year sales for household goods are up 2.2 percent – a sign people are hibernating, bringing their focus onto home improvement and ensuring the ‘nest’ is a good environment to spend more time.

Meanwhile, department stores and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing are still showing negative results at -0.8 per cent and -0.3 per cent respectively. But in comparison, month-on-month, there’s been a vast improvement from the previous month where clothing, footwear and personal accessory took a massive downturn to -7.5 per cent.

“While we hope the sector has actually felt the reported monthly boost, year on year declines across key categories show consumers aren’t coming to the retail party for upcoming festivities like spring racing, Christmas and new year,” Zimmerman said.

Turnover rose in New South Wales (1.0 per cent), Queensland (0.5 per cent), Western Australia (0.9 per cent), Victoria (0.3 per cent), South Australia (0.6 per cent), Tasmania (0.8 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.3 per cent). The Northern Territory (0.0 per cent) was relatively unchanged.

Trend turnover rose 0.2 per cent in August 2011. This follows a rise of 0.2 per cent in July 2011 and a rise of 0.2 per cent in June 2011. Trend turnover rose 1.8 per cent in August 2011 compared with August 2010.