|This marked a drop in retail for October following a rise of 0.9 per cent in September, last.|
Food (0.5%) other retailing (0.5%) and clothing, and personal accessories sales (0.6%) were the big winners in October, according to ABS figures released today.
However, there was a fall in department stores like Myer (-0.3%) and Household goods retailing remained static.
Over the longer term, food retailing is the strongest contributor to growth (up 0.4 per cent in trend terms).
Retailers were today hoping for a larger rise in sales following September's rise, however the 0.5% lift and year-on-year increase of 3.6% is a good sign for the sector, said ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman.
"Consumer confidence was high in the months of September and October, encouraging consumers to increase their discretionary spending.
"What the retail sector needs now is for the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates when they meet this afternoon, in order to encourage consumers to let go of their purse strings as they begin their Christmas shopping. Retailers fear that another rate stay may put a dampener on Christmas sales," he said.
Retail sales rose in New South Wales (0.7 per cent), Victoria (0.3 per cent), Queensland (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), Tasmania (1.3 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (1.4 per cent).
However, retail suffered a drop in South Australia (-0.3%) and the Northern Territory (-1.1%).