Retail spending grew by just 0.1 per cent in May, with a drop in Victoria at the start of its COVID-19 lockdown weighing on the result.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported spending declined 1.5 per cent in Victoria as the state entered its fourth lockdown in May, restricting trading for high street stores.
The national rise followed a 1.1 per cent increase in April.
The modest rise in May still left spending 7.4 per cent higher than a year earlier.
“There were mixed results across the industries and states and territories, with COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria impacting the May result,” ABS director Ben James said.
Overall, food retailing rose 1.5 per cent in May, but this was offset by a one per cent decline in households goods retailing and a 1.5 per cent drop in clothing and footwear spending.
Consumer spending is expected to be the main plank of Australia’s continued economic expansion, aided by low interest rates, the wealth effect of rising house prices, a strong labour market and a surge in household savings.