Growth, if that’s what you call it, bouncing along the bottom at sickly 0.1 per cent

Retail sales rose just 0.1 per cent in April in another sign shoppers are reluctant to part with their dollars as higher interest rates, inflation and taxes hit household budgets.

May 28, 2024, updated May 28, 2024
Gold Coast retail icon Pacific Fair has been sold for a global record price (Photo: DestinationGC)

Gold Coast retail icon Pacific Fair has been sold for a global record price (Photo: DestinationGC)

Figures released on Tuesday followed a 0.4 per cent fall in retail sales in the month before and a minor 0.2 per cent lift in February, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The April result was a little below the 0.2 per cent expected and emblematic of ongoing weakness in the retail sector.

Year-on-year, retail trade rose 1.3 per cent.

ABS head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said the small rise in turnover in April was not enough to make up for a fall in March.

“The relatively earlier Easter and the different timing of school holidays across the country meant we saw some added volatility in turnover in March and April,” Mr Dorber said.

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“Looking across the past two months, we see weak underlying spending in most parts of the retail industry.”

Clothing, footwear, and personal accessory retailing fell 0.7 per cent though gains were posted in all other non-food categories.

Food retailing sunk 0.5 per cent, while cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services clocked a 0.3 per cent lift.

Mr Dorber said the fall in food retailing in part reversed a 0.8 per cent boost in the month prior to reflect spending on food and alcohol during the earlier-than-usual Easter.

“Retailers told us spending on alcohol dropped off as consumers brought purchases forward into March and because they are increasingly opting for cheaper alcoholic products,” he said.

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