By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Retail sales were up 0.5 per cent in the September quarter, compared to the June quarter, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This follows consecutive increases of 0.5 per cent in the June quarter and 0.8 per cent in the March quarter 2008.

This data comes at a time when the Harvey Norman weekly sales report indicates a slight drop in sales year on year for the consumer electronics group, which reported a 0.8 per cent decline in written sales for the 28 days ended 16 November 2008.

According to the ABS data, which encompasses all retail sectors in the country, in the September quarter 2008, all industries except Household good retailing (-0.4 per cent) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.6 per cent) had an increase in the trend. The Food retailing (+1.2 per cent) and Department stores (+0.8 per cent) industries had the largest increases.

All States, except New South Wales (-0.8 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.3 per cent), had an increase in the trend estimate. States with the largest increase were the Northern Territory (+2.5 per cent), South Australia (+2.1 per cent) and Tasmania (+2.0 per cent).