Retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in May 2013, to $21.8 billion, following a revised fall of 0.1 percent in April 2013, and a fall of 0.6 percent in March 2013, the ABS says.
The largest contributor to the rise in May 2013 was other retailing (0.8 percent), which takes in items such as recreational goods, pharmaceuticals and books. Next was food retailing (up 0.2 percent), then department stores (up 0.8 percent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (up 0.4 percent).
Household goods sales were flat, falling 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted and electrical and electronic goods were 1.1 percent lower. However, rises were recorded for furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing (up 0.5%) and Hardware, building and garden supplies (up 0.1%).
Falls were also recorded for cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.6 percent). But over the longer term, food retailing remains the largest contributor to growth (up 0.3 percent in trend terms).
Western Australians are the biggest spenders, with WA the largest contributor to the rise (1.6 percent) followed by Queensland (0.5 percent), South Australia (0.6 percent), Tasmania (0.6 percent) and the NT (0.8 percent).
But in NSW they spent the least (-0.4 percent), Victoria (-0.3 per cent) and the ACT (-1.7 percent). Over the longer term, NSW remains the strongest contributor to growth (up 0.4 percent in trend terms).
Through the year, Australian retail turnover rose 2.3 per cent in May 2013, seasonally adjusted, compared to May 2012.