The retail sector has backed up a strong showing in March with a 0.3 per cent rise for April, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The result further distances the market from its weak showing in February when it posted a decline of 2 per cent. In March, ABS figures showed a 2.2 per cent increase.
Turnover also increased by 7.2 per cent in April 2009 compared with the same period last year.
Industries that had an increase in April were: Clothing and soft goods (0.8 per cent), household goods (3.9 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent). However, decreases were seen in food retailing (-0.2 per cent), department stores (-2.8 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.5%).
South Australia (-0.1 per cent), Western Australia (-2.4 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-4.6 per cent) all suffered a decrease for April, but the other states rose with NSW (1.3 per cent) experiencing the greatest increase.
Despite the rise, Harvey Norman general manager for computers and communications, Luke Naish said he was disappointed with the overall results.
“The poor results from states like WA show the market has generally been flat,” Naish said.
“The chains have been doing OK, as marketing pushes have a positive effect in gaining consumer dollars in tough economic times, however, the small overall rise is an indication that the government’s stimulus package with the cash handouts has not had the impact that it was hoping for.”