The BSI rose by 0.5 per cent in January.Debit and credit card spend increased by 0.5 per cent in January, seasonally adjusted figures have revealed.

According to the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Business Sales Indicator (BSI) - which tracks the value of debit and Aussie credit card spent at the financial organisation's point of sale terminals - there was a rise last month after a similar gain in December.

But in trend terms, the BSI figure eased in January.

However, Matt Comyn, executive general manager of local business banking at the CBA, said the increase is encouraging for retailers as it is one of only three surges in the past 11 months.

What's more, consumer confidence was already weak before the floods over the festive and new year periods hit - and many small businesses were negatively affected by the natural disaster.

Mr Comyn added: "These positive signs are pleasing, particularly as they take into account a number of economic setbacks that one would have expected to drive down sales.

"Therefore, to see the biggest industry category of retail stores recording the largest gain across sectors and its biggest increase in 17 months is definitely good news."

Retail stores managed an increase of 1.3 per cent, while there were also gains elsewhere.

Contracted services advanced by 1.2 per cent in trend terms in the month, plus the increase stood at 6.2 per cent for the year overall.

In addition to this, there was also good news for repair services and service providers, which were both up by 1.1 per cent - and the amusement and entertainment sector recorded a growth of 0.5 per cent in January.

This comes after last month's CBI revealed the best reading for more than a year in terms of the value of debit and credit cards after a 0.5 per cent rise in December - its fourth consecutive increase.

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