Across all states and territories.

Australian retail turnover fell 0.6% in August 2017, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics, and follows a fall of 0.2% in July 2017. It was the largest August fall since March 2013.

In seasonally adjusted terms household goods retailing declined by 1.0% and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing were down 0.2%. The biggest slide, 1.3% was felt through cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. However there was some good news for the retail sector with a rise of 0.7% in department stores and 0.1% through other retailing.

Spending fell in all states and territories with Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory leading the falls, all posting 0.8% declines. New South Wales fell 0.2%, South Australia and Western Australia went down 0.6% and Tasmania 0.7%.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.1% in August 2017 following a 0.1% rise in July 2017, and when compared to August 2016, the trend estimate rose 2.8%. Online retail turnover contributed 4.6% to total retail turnover in original terms.

According to the National Retail Association the 0.6% dip should serve as a warning on the disastrous effects overturning the penalty rates decision could have on the retail sector. Chief executive Dominique Lamb said retailers were copping it from all sides, and needed the nation’s decision-makers to keep step with a rapidly-changing global environment.

“We’re seeing consistently flat results across virtually all sectors, and it’s clear that if we keep penalising retailers and preventing them from remaining competitive, these figures will only get worse,” Lamb said. “We need as much adaptive thinking from others, so we can work with our decision-makers to enable, not hinder, the industry from evolving. The challengers trying to have the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates decision overruled are risking retailers’ capacity to even create Sunday shifts in the first place.

“If retailers can’t afford to open their doors on a Sunday, in an environment where consumers are more price-driven than ever before, are spoiled for choice by international competitors who are not subjected to the same cost imposts our retailers are, and expect to be able to shop seven days a week, then everyone loses out.”

According to Lamb there is no benefit to workers, retailers or the Australian economy in preventing retailers from being able to adapt alongside the rest of the world, and service consumers in a way they expect to be serviced.