April retail rose just 0.2%, as retail boss calls on Reserve to cut rates further.

Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in April, new ABS figures show. 
This slight rise followed a fall of 0.4 per cent in March. 
Australian Retailers Association Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the minimal rise was a further sign that the retail sector is still facing significant challenges, and called on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates to “at least 2.5 per cent” tomorrow. 
However, there was some good news for the ailing sector – annual turnover rose 3.1 per cent in April, seasonally adjusted, compared to a year ago.  
“Despite the interest rate cut of 25 basis points to 2.75 percent last month, the RBA needs to cut official rates to 2.5 per cent to get variable mortgage rates to a level of 6 per cent in order to address a compromised economic situation,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Electrical and electronic goods retail showed a slight rise of 0.2%, Food (+0.5%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (+1.8%), and other retailing (0.1%), which includes cosmetic and toiletry, all rose. 
However, there was not such good news for the likes of Myer, with falls in department stores ( down 2 per cent) and household goods retailing was also down (0.6 per cent).

Over the longer term, the largest contributor to growth remains food retailing, the ABS said today. 

New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory were the strongest performers, while Western Australia (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-1.0 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-1.6 per cent) were all down. 
“Overall, the 0.2 per cent increase in April illustrates that consumers are still holding on to their purse strings and discretionary spending remains tight. It is evident there is a lack of consumer confidence in the whole economic situation in Australia,” Mr Zimmerman added. 
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