According to latest ABS findings.

Retail turnover rose 0.6% in May 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures. This follows a rise of 1% in April 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in household goods retailing (2.2%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.3%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.6%), other retailing (0.6%), and food retailing (0.1%). These rises were offset by a fall in department stores (-0.7%).

The rise in household goods was across all subgroups: electrical and electronic goods retailing (2.8%), furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing (2%) and hardware, building and garden supplies retailing (1.5%).

In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in New South Wales (1.3%), Victoria (1.2%), South Australia (0.8%), Western Australia (0.3%), Tasmania (1.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (1%). There were falls in Queensland (-1.1%) and the Northern Territory (-0.5%) in May 2017.

Online retail turnover contributed 3.9% to total retail turnover in original terms.

ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman (pictured) said the figures illustrate a positive outlook for the industry as retailers head into winter.

“Retail figures have improved from April across the board with the cold winter snap driving consumers indoors,” Zimmerman said.

“As we enter the colder months we will see retail growth remain strong, giving retailers breathing room in the tough trading environment. We look forward to seeing consumers take advantage of the end of financial year sales in June giving retailers another boost in sales,” Zimmerman added.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that while retail was experiencing a quiet period, the industry remains in steady shape and should continue to pick up following the introduction of reduced Sunday Penalty Rates.

“As we head into the new financial year, the retail sector is performing steadily,” Lamb said. “With changes to Sunday Penalty Rates having just come into effect, we are hopeful that this will breathe new life into the industry as we begin the march towards Christmas.”

“The reforms to retail penalty rates will help boost consumer spending, with benefits ranging from increased operating hours to spreading the wages budget further and allowing more staff to be hired. The NRA is confident that the changes in penalty rates will result in stronger turnover results for retail in the coming months,” she said.