Retail sales in November fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.1%, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The figures show trade has fallen to $21.53 billion, following a flat result in October, and a rise of 0.4% in September 2012.
The result comes despite expectations retail trade would have increased in the lead-up to Christmas.
Food retailing rose by 0.4%, while household goods, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, cafes and department stores all recorded declines in total trade.
New home sales rise in November
The housing industry has been granted some reprieve, with news that new home sales increased during the month of November.
The figures from the Housing Industry Association show new home sales increased 4.7% in November, with detached home sales rising 7.7% and multi-unit sales falling 6.9%.
“It is promising to see new home sales moving in the right direction,” HIA economist Geordan Murray said in a statement.
But Murray also said there was “a long way to go before we could consider sales volumes to be at satisfactory levels”.
“The importance of a broad-based rejuvenation of new home building to maintaining the health of the overall Australian economy has been widely acknowledged.”
“But at this stage, new home sales sits among a host of indicators that are yet to provide conclusive evidence that we are on track to achieve this.”
Shares open higher despite weak Wall Street lead
The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning, despite a weak lead from the United States.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 16.8 points or 0.4%, while in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 55.4 points or 0.4% due to anticipation of poor corporate earnings in the weeks ahead.