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NSW: Sales, stimulus and rates responsible for retail figures

03 Mar 2009 6:04 PM

Retailers say extended sale periods .. successive rate cuts and the federal government's stimulus package are behind January's better-than-expected retail sales figures.

New data shows retail spending touched a record high of 19.2 billion dollars last month .. a seasonally adjusted 0.2 per cent increase on December.

Economists had expected a 0.5 per cent decline in January.

Australian National Retailers Association chief MARGY OSMOND says the good news has eased fears of a downturn after the Christmas period.

Ms OSMOND says if the federal government and reserve bank hadn't intervened with aggressive monetary and fiscal policy stimulus .. they'd be looking at a completely different set of numbers.

She says the continuing impact of recent interest rate cuts and the government's second stimulus package will be vital to maintaining confidence in the retail sector.