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According to Access Economics, the consumer thirst for iPhones and wide-screen TVs has given the retail sector some small growth in the new financial year, although this is coming at the expense of new clothing and restaurants, which make up almost a third of turnover for a sector showed sluggish growth.

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According to Access Economics, the forecast for retail turnover growth is 0.8 per cent in 2008-09, which although promising, is also down from a much more healthy 4 per cent.

The report notes that national retail spending in July hit $18.23 billion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), up just 0.1 per cent for the fourth successive month, which analysts say was due to household income falling, fueled by spiraling petrol and food prices and a much larger share of dispoasale income going on to home loans repayments.

Retailers were also hoping the $7 billion tax cuts from the last Budget would help retailers, however cautious consumers may well use this extra largesse to pay off debts instead.

However, the 0.8 per cent rise in retailing, lifted by the iPhone and pre-Olympics TV sales, was seen as a bright spot in what was generally regarded as dour news for retailers.

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