Australian retail sales just posted its biggest rise in months

Getty/Robert Cianflone

Australian retail turnover rose 0.4% in January, right in line with market expectations.

The $23.8 billion in turnover is the strongest print in Australian retail spending in months, following a 0.2% increase in December and a flat November.

Department store spending in January, when there are typically widespread sales, rose 2.2%. Household goods retailing was up 0.7%.

The key discretionary category of cafes and restaurants was up a strong 2%. This was led by a huge 3.6% increase in restaurants and catering services, possibly reflecting consumers spending more time dining out during the Australian holiday month. Takeaway food was down 0.2%, seasonally adjusted.