CONSUMER spending in August on clothing and footwear spearheaded a nine per cent increase in value of total retail sales to $17.4 billion, compared with the same month last year. After allowing for inflation, total retail sales rose about two per cent in volume in August. Sales on clothing and footwear were among the biggest, rising 24 per cent in value and 13 per cent in volume. There were also respective rises of 12 per cent in value and 13 per cent in volume in sales of jewellery and watches. Sales in supermarkets was up nine per cent in value and one per cent in volume, while fuel sales recorded a 12 per cent leap in value and six per cent up in volume. Sales by department stores notched up four per cent in value despite volumes falling three per cent. The sales of alcoholic drinks and tobacco saw volume plunge nine per cent, but were able to maintain a four per cent growth in value. However, sales of motor vehicles fell 23 per cent in value and 29 per cent in volume while other consumer durables dropped eight per cent in value and 10 per cent in volume. Compared with July, retail sales in August rose two per cent in value and one per cent in volume. During the first eight months of this year, total retail sales rose 13 per cent in value and seven per cent in volume, compared with the same period last year.