Aust retailers cheer sales data

AAP

Australian retailers say the end of the warm summer months may be behind a small rise in trading figures.

Retail spending was up 0.2 per cent in April, seasonally adjusted, compared to the previous month, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Monday.

It followed strong growth in spending in the first two months of 2013 and a slight fall in March.

"The rise is not huge, but it's certainly trending in the right direction," CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association, Margy Osmond told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

She said a downturn in temperatures at the start of autumn had boosted sales figures.

"We've seen a fairly significant growth in clothing and accessories, which was all about those chilly mornings during the month of April when people decided it was time to go out and get a pair of boots or a new winter coat."

The growth of the food sales sector also increased, with spending at cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rising by 0.5 per cent.

The most growth occurred in states across the eastern seaboard, with spending in the ACT rising to 5.3 per cent.

Ms Osmond said despite the small rise in figures, another cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was needed.

"Another cut just might help aid this upward trend that retailers have been looking for," she said.

The National Retail Association (NRA), meanwhile, said the trading figures showed consumer confidence was still low and called for the central bank to further reduce interest rates.

"The RBA might be tempted to wait for another month for the situation to improve after last month's rate cut, (but) the latest data shows a desperate need for another cut now," NRA CEO Trevor Evans said in a statement.

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