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Growth returned to Australian retailers in January after a disappointing Christmas season saw sales fall into slight contraction.

Retail sales in Australia rose 0.4 per cent month-on-month in January from a fall of 0.1 per cent in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was dead-on a median estimate of 0.4 per cent among economists polled by Reuters.

The bureau pointed to a 1.4 per cent rise in household goods retailing and 0.1 per cent gain in other retailing as driving the rise. Those were tempered somewhat by a 0.4 per cent fall in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing coming out of the Christmas sales season.

The Australian dollar dropped as much as 0.3 per cent in morning trade following the data release to $0.7573.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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