Despite doom and gloom, retail sales are on the rise for a second consecutive month

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Retailers could be set for some breathing room, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating sales are on the rise for the second month in a row.

The February data revealed a seasonally adjusted rise in retail turnover by 0.6% in February. The seasonally adjusted figures show retail turnover reached just below $26.5 million nationwide.

This follows a seasonally-adjusted growth of 0.2% in January, which recorded roughly $26.3 million in turnover.

Breaking down the data, it appears the big winners were department stores, with a sudden rise in revenue of 1.5%, despite falls in the three months prior. Clothing, footwear and personal accessories sales weren’t too far behind, rising by 1.1% in the month.

In a statement, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) director of quarterly economy wide surveys Ben James said “all industries saw rises in February… led by household goods retailing (1.1 per cent), food retailing (0.3 per cent), cafe’s restaurants and takeaways (0.7 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessories (1.1 per cent). Department stores rose (1.5 per cent) after falls in each of the preceding three months. Other retailing also rose (0.2 per cent).”

New South Wales and Victoria led the gains, with the ABS reporting a 1.1% increase in both states. All states and territories experienced a growth in turnover with the exception of Western Australia and Queensland which fell by 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively.

Online sales contributed 5.1% to the overall figures in February, an increase from 3.6% in February last year.

The rise in retail turnover comes despite troubles across the sector, with retailers struggling with increasing rents, while others have been forced to change business models.

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