According to the latest retail turnover figures from the ABS, sales for the month of October were up 0.3 per cent. Despite this, major retail bodies are warning retailers to prepare for the figure to drop, after three consecutive rate rises from the RBA.

The 0.3 per cent rise in retail sales compares to a fall of 0.2 per cent in September and a 0.5 per cent growth in August. Margy Osmond, CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association commented on the results.

“Retail sales have only grown by 0.6 per cent in the three months to October and worse still, these figures don’t capture the effect of the three rate rises,” she said.

“These lacklustre figures don’t bode well for the Christmas season, especially with the Reserve Bank playing Scrooge with interest rates.”

Russel Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, was also wary of the slight increase and the effect the three successive rate rises will have for consumer confidence.

“The ARA has been stressing for several months the need for the Reserve Bank to put a hold on interest rate rises until there were clear signs of recovery,” he said.

“The message to consumers who may be feeling unsettled after three consecutive interest rate rises is to responsibly enjoy the gift giving spirit of Christmas.”

On a state by state basis, Northern Territory showed the most growth with an increase of 1.8 per cent, followed by Tasmania with 1.5 per cent, New South Wales with 1.2 per cent and Western Australia with 0.8 per cent. South Australia remained unchanged, Victoria dropped 0.9 per cent, Queensland was down 0.2 per cent and the ACT fell 0.6 per cent.

Department stores were the strongest performing sector with an increase of 1.9 per cent and household goods retailing also grew 0.1 per cent over the month.