Mother’s Day spending in May gave retailers some relief despite cost-of-living and sky-rocketing interest rate increase continuing to bite at consumer confidence.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today revealed a rise of 0.7 percent increase in retail turnover, up from a flat result in April.

National Retail Association CEO Greg Griffith said the retail sector can thank Mother’s Day promotional sales for healthier signs of consumer spending.

“The results for May suggest consumers splurge on florists and cosmetic retailers, with other retailing recording the highest trade increase of 2.2 percent,’’ Mr Griffith said.

“While Aussies tightened their purse strings in previous months, they seem ready to spend when the occasion arises or when sales promotions are readily available.’’

Mr. Griffith suggested the 5.75 percent payroll cost increase that will come into effect this Saturday (1 July) could push inflation higher and weaken retail trade in the coming months.

“The wage increase has dampened any hope of the Reserve Bank pausing interest rates next month, which will further injure consumer confidence,’’ Mr. Griffith said.

“Spending increases in food-related sectors can be attributed to inflationary costs baked into the data.

“Restaurants and cafes reported a 1.4 percent increase and food retailing increased by 0.3 percent.”

The Northern Territory experienced the highest increase of 1.6 percent in retail trade while Queensland had a modest increase of 0.4 percent.

“Conditions for small businesses are less favourable than their larger counterparts,’’ Mr. Griffith said.

“The recent Federal Budget has delivered on some cost-relief measures such as the Small Business Energy Incentive and the continuation of the instant asset write-off. However, there is still a need for ongoing government support for the retail sector.”

The National Retail Association represents more than 60,000 stores across Australia. it has been serving businesses in the retail and fast-food sectors for close to 100 years.

Greg Griffith is available for an interview. Contact the National Retail Association media unit at (07) 3240 0163 or 0467 792 013