Retail sales in Australia experienced a slight uptick of 0.1% in April 2024 in comparison to March, as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  

This marginal growth comes after a 0.4% decline in March 2024 and a 0.2% increase in February 2024.  

ABS retail statistics head Ben Dorber said: “Underlying retail spending continues to be weak with a small rise in turnover in April not enough to make up for a fall in March.” 

The data indicates that since the beginning of 2024, there has been no significant change in retail turnover, with consumers showing restraint in their discretionary spending.  

Non-food-related industries, however, did see turnover increase in April.  

The “other retailing” category experienced the most significant growth at 1.6%, followed by household goods retailing at 0.7% and department stores at 0.1%. 

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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing experienced a 0.7% decline during the month. 

Ben Dorber added: “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.  

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

Food-related spending presented a mixed picture, with food retailing falling by 0.5% in April, while cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services saw a modest increase of 0.3%. 

Dorber said: “The fall in food retailing is a partial reversal of last month’s rise of 0.8%, where the earlier-than-usual Easter boosted spending, particularly on alcohol.” 

Retail turnover growth varied across regions, with New South Wales recording the highest rise at 0.7%, and South Australia following with a 0.5% increase.