Last month’s retail turnover growth appear to have given the industry false hope after it slumped 0.2 per cent in April.

The largest contributor to the fall was Household goods retailing (-0.8%), followed by Other retailing (-0.7%), Department stores (-1.0%) and Clothing and footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.1%). There were rises in Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4%) and Food retailing (0.1%). 

The state which was the largest contributor to the fall was Victoria (-1.6%), followed by Western Australia (-0.2%), Tasmania (-0.6%), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.6%) and the Northern Territory (-0.9%). There were rises in New South Wales (0.7%), South Australia (0.5%) and Queensland (0.1%).

Retail associations have agreed these results are disappointment as it only reveals the sector is in crisis.

National Retail Association executive director Gary Black said the figures were further proof that consumers were very hesitant to open their wallets.

“These figures show the retail sector continues to struggle, and discretionary spending has gone backwards over the last 12 months,” he said,

The ABS reported retail trade fell by 0.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in April. All discretionary categories recorded losses, while food retailing and restaurants and takeaways recorded only very minor growth.

“These figures are further evidence – if any was needed – that all is not well in retail sector. While other areas of the economy are performing well, we are experiencing what is clearly a retail recession.”