Retail turnover picked up 1.3 per cent in September due to easing of COVID-19 restrictions over the period.
It was the first monthly rise since May, following falls of 1.7 per cent in August and 2.7 per cent in July 2021, as the Delta outbreak took hold in parts of the country.
"Retail turnover continues to vary by state, based on whether restrictions were imposed, removed or extended," Australian Bureau of Statistics' Ben James said on Friday.
"Queensland sales rose to their highest level ever, up 5.2 per cent, with no lockdowns in September."
NSW had a rise of 2.3 per cent despite lockdowns, as some restrictions were eased or lifted.
A full month of lockdown restrictions in Victoria and the ACT resulted in a fall in sales, with Victoria down 2.1 per cent - to its lowest level since October 2020 - and the ACT down 12 per cent.
Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is confident Australia can avoid a second coronavirus-driven recession.
Figures released on Friday showed an improvement to the budget bottom line in September of $7.8 billion, taking the deficit to $31.7 billion.
"It's off the back of more people getting into work and off the back of more businesses reopening and that is a positive sign for our economy," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News.
The treasurer said a stronger-than-expected labour market was helping to drive the economic recovery after the pandemic.
"That's what should give a lot of people confidence about the coming months, and indeed the economic recovery into next year," Mr Frydenberg said.
"We're not without challenges, but we can also go forward with a lot of confidence."
Mr Frydenberg said a key measure for the country to avoid a second recession was a rise in company and personal tax receipts, which defied predictions.
Total receipts were $19.5 billion higher than the 2012/22 budget profile, while payments were $11.7 billion higher.
Australian Associated Press
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