Retail spending rose just 0.1 per cent in May, falling short of market expectations of a 0.2 per cent rise.

Seasonally adjusted retail spending for the month rose to $27.3 billion, with a lift at cafes, restaurant and takeaway food services offsetting a decline at department stores and a drop at supermarkets, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday.

The result lifted the Australian dollar to a two-month high of 70.43 US cents.

ABS survey director Ben James said it was a mixed result across the industries.

Spending on household goods lifted 0.5 per cent, but the cash spent on clothing, personal accessories and footwear fell by 0.2 per cent.

Retail spending lifted in Victoria, South Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory, but fell everywhere else, including a 0.1 per cent decline for economic powerhouse of NSW.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.2 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in May 2019, a rise from 5.7 per cent in April.