For the third month in a row, the ABS retail trade figures has shown signs of improvement with the Australian retail turnover rising 0.4 per cent in September 2011.

Turnover rose in all industries: household goods retailing (1.0 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.9 per cent), food retailing (0.2 per cent), other retailing (0.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.1 per cent) and department stores (0.1% per cent).

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said while it is welcoming news for retailers, retailers and department stores haven’t reaped the benefits of this small boost as they continue to struggle with sales well below the same time last year.

“Categories which would traditionally see a boost at this time of year due to the change of season are in significant year on year decline, including clothing and footwear (-8.1 per cent) and department stores (-3.8 per cent),” he said.

“September’s school holiday period could be one reason for slight month on month boost in trade for cafes and restaurants. However, this is a further blow for the clothing and department store category given they would usually expect customers to be purchasing items for their holiday and leisure time.

“When October figures are released retailers will be hoping for a boost in trade as this is usually when outfits and accessories are purchased for the spring racing season.

“Retailers are now looking ahead to the festive season trading period and the recent interest rate cut from the RBA has given the industry a glimmer of hope that Santa will still be coming this Christmas.”

Turnover rose in all states except for Victoria that was relatively unchanged. Meanwhile, trend turnover rose 0.3 per cent in September, which follows the same percentage rise in August and July.

Turnover volume rose 0.6 per cent in the September quarter 2011, seasonally adjusted, following a rise of 0.2 per cent in the previous quarter.