Aussies maintain tight grip on debit cards

Aussies are clearly keeping a tight grip on their credit and debit cards, as retail activity remains subdued across the country.

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have indicated that levels of spending rose by just 0.2 per cent in February 2012.

This followed an increase of 0.3 per cent in January and is a clear indication that people are being very cautious with their cash.

The results also fall in line with the Reserve Bank of Australia's recent Financial Stability Review, which showed more Aussies are paying off their debts instead of buying luxury items.

While it is good to see people taking control of their finances, retailers throughout Australia are finding it increasingly difficult to remain profitable.

The ABS study found that clothes shops saw the largest downturn in trade during the month, followed by household goods merchants.

There were also distinct regional differences, with spending levels going up in Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, while store owners in New South Wales and Victoria experienced a decline.

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