Australians still not willing to spend big

Most Australian shoppers are still not willing to make expensive purchases, a new report has revealed.

A survey of 1,000 people by the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) found that while 56 per cent feel that the economic downturn is over, only 39 per cent said they are willing to spend on items like clothes, shoes, homewares and appliances, the AAP reported.

ANRA chief executive Margy Osmond said consumer confidence is down as rising interest rates take their toll on incomes.

"Shrewd shoppers will create challenges for retailers this year. There are still a few obstacles on the path to recovery and rising interest rates is the largest hurdle," she added.

Only 37 per cent of those surveyed said they felt comfortable spending on credit cards – a finding Ms Osmond said is further proof of caution among shoppers. Australians wishing to avoid debt problems could compare debit cards in search of safer payment options.

This week, National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster suggested the Reserve Bank could hit Aussies with another interest rate hike at its meeting on April 6th.

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