Retail spending growth beats expectations

Retail spending increased by 0.5 per cent in October, the strongest surge in spending by shoppers in five months.

Stronger sales of shoes and accessories and increased spending at cafes and restaurants has delivered the best growth in retail spending in five months.

Retail spending of $26.05 billion in October was up 0.5 per cent from September, seasonally adjusted, beating market expectations of a rise of 0.3 per cent.

The increase matches May's 0.5 per cent growth and follows three consecutive months of weaker than expected spending, including falls in July and August.

The Australian dollar has risen sharply following the release of the data, which coincided with figures showing a fall in Australia's current account deficit.

The local currency was at 76.26 US cents at 1200 AEDT, up from 76.08 US cents immediately before the data was released at 1130 AEDT.

The strongest spending growth came for footwear and other personal accessories, with an increase of 2.5 per cent.

Spending at cafes and restaurants rose by two per cent, and takeaway food sales increased by 1.2 per cent.

Turnover at department stores rose by 0.5 per cent, the third straight month of growth for the sector.

Household goods retailing improved by just 0.1 per cent, while food retailing was also up 0.1 per cent, as grocery sales rose but liquor sales dropped.

The October figures will help allay concerns that consumer spending has stalled as households grapple with rising debt levels and record low wages growth.

Source: AAP