Consumer sentiment on the rise, but when will sales follow?

2.4% rise in consumer sentiment from December to January
2.4% rise in consumer sentiment from December to January Claudia Baxter

RETAILERS are still wary a rise in consumer sentiment has not yet translated into more sales after a steady but not outstanding Christmas period.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index results were released Wednesday, showing a 2.4% rise in sentiment from December to January.

But the Australian National Retailers Association's chief executive Anna McPhee said while it was a "slight improvement", the index showed low petrol prices and interest rates had not yet translated into firmer consumer sentiment.

"The reading suggests consumers need to feel more confident about their own family finances, housing affordability and the economy more generally before we see further improvements to activity in the retail sector and the recurring benefits this delivers to the economy more broadly," Ms McPhee said.

"The economic fundamentals are in place and more needs to be done to communicate the benefits of these fundamentals to build confidence."

Topics:  business consumer affairs retail sales

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