Shoppers have again retreated into their shells, new figures show, but businesses continue to pump more cash into the economy.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported this morning that retail trade turnover fell by 0.2 per cent in April, after a large 1.1 per cent rise in March.
Sales through department stores last month tumbled by one per cent while those of household goods dropped by 0.8 per cent.
However sales through cafes and restaurants grew another 0.4 per cent while food sales lifted by 0.1 per cent.
Sales in WA fell back by 0.2 per cent, while those in Victoria slumped by 1.6 per cent. Sales were up in NSW and Queensland.
While shoppers remain cool on opening their wallets, the overall business community is not.
Construction work done in the March quarter climbed by 5.5 per cent to more than $48 billion.
It was driven by a 13.3 per cent jump in engineering construction work done through the first three months of the year. It now stands at a record $29.8 billion.
After falling by almost 26 per cent in the December quarter, total engineering work in WA jumped by 38.9 per cent in the March quarter to $14.2 billion.
Construction work done fell in every other State or Territory across the quarter.