Certain areas of the nation’s retail sector are performing more strongly than others, according to new figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A new ABS report published on July 3 revealed that department stores, footwear, clothing and food retailing all enjoyed modest rises during the month of May, contributing to an overall 0.1 per cent month-on-month lift in retail turnover. Overall, food was the strongest retail performer this month, contributing 0.3 per cent in trend terms.

Looking to the longer-term, May’s results means a 2.3 per cent rise in the ABS’s retail turnover trend estimate when compared with the same month last year – and could be a sign of slowly growing consumer confidence.

May’s retail turnover performance was also good news when compared to April 2013, which saw a seasonally-adjusted fall of 0.1 per cent.

However, not all areas of retail enjoyed the strong performance shown by various apparel and food retailers. For example, household goods retailing and takeaway food services saw drops of 0.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively, in May.

Consumers have been relatively cautious in the wake of the global financial crisis – and monetary policymakers are taking note.

The 2.75 per cent cash rate – which was left unchanged by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) for the month of July – is the lowest on record, and RBA governor Glenn Stevens said there still may be scope for further reductions at a later time.

One crucial factor affecting the Australian economy is the depreciation of the dollar, which has dropped by about ten per cent in value compared with the American dollar between April and July.