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WA puts its best foot forward
WA puts its best foot forward

A shoe-buying binge by West Australians is helping the State economy defy the gloom engulfing the rest of the nation.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show retail sales across WA jumped by 1.4 per cent in August, the biggest increase in 10 months and the best performance by any State or Territory.

Over the past year, while retail sales nationally grew 3.1 per cent they are up 9.2 per cent in WA.

And it is the shoe-buying brigade putting dollars in the tills of WA retailers.

The value of shoe sales in WA lifted 4.4 per cent in August to be 35.1 per cent higher over the past year.

The shoe trade has overtaken cafes and restaurants as the fastest-growing retail sector in WA.

Cafe and restaurant sales improved another 1.3 per cent in August to be 26.5 per cent higher over the year.

Spend-Less Shoes Innaloo manager Shelbi Finch said the surge in trade had been noticeable.

"School holidays always helps - it's always busier," she said.

"The change of seasons helps. We've got people stocking up for summer, getting it over and done with."

Colleague Karen Hulsman said recent price cuts had attracted customers who were on the lookout for a bargain.

WA also continues to out-perform the rest of the country in the housing market, with the ABS reporting approvals for new homes rose 16.1 per cent across the State in August. It made up for a similar-sized drop the previous month.

Although a lift in the lumpy apartments and units contributed to the increase, it was largely driven by an 11 per cent improvement in approvals for private stand-alone homes.

Nationally, approvals improved by a much more modest 6.4 per cent thanks to the apartment sector.

It is not only shoes and new homes getting attention from West Australians.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reported that car sales in WA were 13.6 per cent higher last month than a year ago.

Car sales are up more than 14 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Nationally, car sales are strong despite a sharp drop in government sales.

Sales are 9.4 per cent better than for the first nine months of last year.