Australian retail sales rose in February, led by a rebound in department store sales following several poor months.
Retail sales rose by 0.6% in February from a month earlier, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. That compared with a 0.3% rise expected by economists.
Department store sales rose by 1.5% in February while clothing, footwear and household goods were stronger. Cafes and restaurants also saw a significant bounce in sales.
The Reserve Bank of Australia continues to keep consumers under the microscope amid fears that a slowdown in spending could drag the economy into a hole.
On Tuesday, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said consumer spending remains a key area of uncertainty for the economy with household debt continuing to rise.
Wages have been stagnant for some time with consumers facing rising living costs in the form of higher rents, utility bills and insurance premiums.
Retailers are grappling with intensifying competition, especially following the recent arrival in Australia of online consumer goods giant Amazon.com Inc.
While a strong job market is helping to ease concerns about rising debt defaults across the economy, there remains plenty of underemployed workers, meaning wage growth pressures continue to be subdued.