THE Launceston Chamber of Commerce has been encouraged by positive retail trade figures for January released yesterday, but said many retailers remained under pressure.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Tasmania's retail turnover increased by 0.5 per cent from December in trend terms, compared with 0.1 per cent nationally.
Sectors to increase nationwide include food retailing (0.2 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.5 per cent).
Overall, Australia's turnover has increased 2.5 per cent since January 2012.
Chamber acting executive officer Maree Tetlow said it was pleasing to see Tasmania's retail turnover grow for the third consecutive month.
"There has been some increase in the number of tourists in the region over December and January and that would have boosted cafes and restaurant sales," Ms Tetlow said.
"However, in general retail is very price and sales-driven at the moment - and this will continue to put pressure on business margins."
Ms Tetlow said the chamber and various stakeholders would soon embark on a program to move more businesses online as the National Broadband Network was rolled out.
Finance Minister Scott Bacon said Tasmania's retailers had seen about $1.3 billion go through their cash registers since the start of December.
"The retail sector has been experiencing challenging conditions, through increased competition from online and other factors," he said. "It is pleasing to see the hospitality industry benefiting from a strong summer events calendar, and we want to build this momentum."