Australian retail turnover increased by 0.6% in May, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The growth followed a 0.1% rise in April and a 0.4% decline in March. Robert Ewing, ABS head of business statistics, attributed the increase to savvy shoppers capitalising on early end-of-financial year promotions and sales events.

Underlying spending remained flat, with a modest 1.5% increase compared to May 2023 in trend terms. Non-food sectors saw gains, with clothing, footwear, and personal accessories retailing experiencing the largest rise at 1.6%.

Household goods and other retail sectors also saw increases, while department stores saw a slight decline of 0.9%.

Food-related spending varied, with food retailing up 0.7% and cafes, restaurants, and takeaway services down 0.1%. The rise in food retailing was driven by a significant increase in liquor sales, rebounding from a sharp decline in April.

Regional variations included notable increases in Western Australia and Victoria, while New South Wales and South Australia saw slight declines.