Retail spending rose 0.3 per cent in March, beating market expectations.
Seasonally adjusted retail spending rose to $27.37 billion and followed a rise of 0.9 per cent in February, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday.
The result was slightly up on the consensus forecast of a 0.2 per cent rise as strong food prices helped cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services jump by 1.4 per cent.
Spending on clothing, footwear and personal accessories rose 1.2 per cent and household goods retailing also rose 0.2 per cent, offset by a 1.5 per cent decline at department stores.
WA was the only state to record a decline in seasonally adjusted retail spending, down 0.7 per cent for March, while Victoria led the nation with a 0.7 per cent monthly rise.
The Australian dollar lifted back above 70 US cents shortly after the release of the data even after parallel reports of a four per cent decline in the trade surplus for March.