Wesfarmers has hosed down expectations in some quarters of a pick-up in consumer spending after the September Federal election.
Speaking at the release of Wesfarmers' first quarter retail figures, chief executive Richard Goyder said spending had fallen ahead of the September 7 poll and then picked up afterwards, but only briefly.
"In the last two to three weeks prior to the election there was some impact, probably in discretionary more than non-discretionary," he told analysts.
"The week after the election was very strong for us but it went back to normal pretty quickly."
Wesfarmers' comments on consumer sentiment are closely scrutinised given its ownership of the Coles supermarket chain and a stable of other top retail brands.
Mr Goyder said he was "generally pleased" with the first-quarter sales figures, despite market disappointment in Coles' performance.
"Our continued focus on improving merchandise offers and value for customers was reflected in strong transaction and volume growth achieved across our retail businesses," he said.
Food and liquor sales were up 4.4 per cent to $6.9 billion after price deflation of 2.4 per cent. Comparable sales growth was 3.4 per cent.
All other divisions also performed better, with the exception of troubled discount department store chain Target, which has been shedding excess inventory under new management.
Mr Goyder said Target was coming into "clean air", but said new senior management were still joining the division. "I won't be talking up Target, because there is nothing to talk up."
Bunnings was Wesfarmers' best performer, its sales up 10.3 per cent at $2 billion.
Mr Goyder said he was hopeful that a combination of improved home prices, weak interest rates and a rising stock market would bolster consumer confidence ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period.
Wesfarmers shares closed down 8 cents to $41.92.