ENCOURAGING retail turnover trends are welcome but the Australian Retailers Association is holding its breath to see what effect the carbon tax has in coming months.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Wednesday show Australian seasonally-adjusted retail turnover rose 0.5% in May this year, following a rise of 0.1% in April.
NSW (0.7%) recorded its third consecutive monthly rise while Queensland also recorded a 0.05% rise in May.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the modest May spike was most likely attributable to colder weather and consumers starting to shop for seasonal products such as winter sheets, clothing, footwear and heaters.
But he said he was particularly encouraged by year on year figures - comparing May last year to May this year - showing a 10% rise in Western Australia, 5% rise in the Northern Territory, 3.6% in NSW while Queensland turnover increased 4.3%.
"A couple of things it's heartening to see - from May this year to May last year - clothing and footwear, and personal accessory retailing is up 1.7% and department store spending is up 0.9%," he said.
"There are some much better figures in there, but I pull those out because they have struggled over past five to six months and we're now seeing increase in that sector.
"It's a discretionary spend and consumers have held onto their funds."
Mr Zimmerman said these figures showed positive signs but the big issues moving forward was whether that upward trend would continue as the carbon tax kicked in this month.
He said they would remain concerned until they saw the July and August figures to measure any effects.
"Families have recently been hit hard with more financial pressure as a result of the Carbon Tax, which the ARA does not believe has been adequately compensated for," he said.
"For retailers, the cost of operating a business is moving upwards as cost increases throughout the supply chain as a result of the carbon tax are captured by this vulnerable economic sector, which cops pressure from both the supplier side and the consumer angle."