Shoppers returned to the nation's malls in January, kicking off the year with a big lift in retail sales.
New figures which confirm the Reserve Bank will likely leave official interest rates on hold later today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported retail sales increased by 0.9 per cent for the first month of the year.
WA retailers missed out on the splurge, with sales down by 0.4 per cent.
But the drop was restricted to a small number of sectors - clothing, footwear and books.
All three are affected by falling prices, dragging down their overall value.
However, they lifted by 1.3 per cent in NSW, by one percent in Victoria, by 0.9 per cent in Queensland, by 1.4 per cent in Tasmania, by 0.4 per cent in South Australia and by 1.3 per cent in both the ACT and Northern Territory.
The only sector to go backwards through the month was department stores, down by 0.6 per cent.
But there was a 1.3 per cent lift in household goods, a 2.6 per cent jump in the other retailing area and a one per cent improvement in the cafes and restaurants sector.
Tomorrow the national accounts for the December quarter will be released.The balance of payments figures released by the bureau showed the surplus on goods and services more than doubled over the September quarter. That will contribute 0.6 percentage points to growth for the December quarter GDP.
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