Retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent in September as Australian consumers continued to spend on food and fashion, data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed today.

National Retail Association Interim Chief Executive Lindsay Carroll said the monthly increase was no surprise as just last week the ABS reported inflation had reached its highest point in 32 years.

“The steady increase of spending in September was again driven by the increasing cost of food and produce, with food retailing at 1 per cent and food services with 1.3 per cent.

“Inflation is now at 7.3 per cent and food prices alone have jumped 9 per cent in the year to September.

“Consumers have had no choice but to adapt to paying the extra costs of their weekly grocery shop that have been pushed up by weather events on the east coast, higher labour and fuel costs and overseas demand for Australian produce.”

“Clothing, footwear and accessories also saw an increase of 2 per cent, compared to a fall of 2.3 per cent in August.

“This shows shoppers are ready to embrace the end of year celebration season with discretionary spending but are likely to be cutting back costs in their own ways.”

Data according to the National Retail Association’s Consumer Sentiment Report released earlier this month showed Australian consumers were prepared to cut back on day-to-day spending to splurge on special events such as Christmas.

“People still want to have those great experiences and are looking for ways to save money in some areas while spending big on the special occasions.

“Retailers are in a position now to guide purchase decisions for savvy shoppers through discounts and special offers,” Ms Carroll said.

The National Retail Association is the voice of modern retail, with more than 60,000 shop fronts nationwide.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

For more information contact the NRA’s media unit at [email protected]