Australia's retail sales fell for the first time in over a year in July, a disappointing start to the third quarter that sent an already-wobbly Australian dollar down a quarter of a US cent. Thursday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed retail sales eased 0.1 per cent in July from June when they surprised with a strong 0.6 per cent jump. The decline confounded the median forecast for a 0.4 per cent rise and followed nearly 13 months of growth. Apart from a flat result in December and April, sales had been up every other month since June 2014. Record-low interest rates and a booming housing market in Sydney and Melbourne have helped underpin household spending and offset anaemic wage growth. That in turn provided a key support for an economy that is weathering a downturn in the mining sector. So a tentative sign that consumers may be starting to fatigue has raised worries for growth, particularly as gross domestic product (GDP) has cooled to its slowest in around two years in the June quarter. "It puts us to a pretty soft start to the third quarter and compounds yesterday's GDP print, which although only slightly weaker than expected has been received pretty negatively by markets," said Tom Kennedy, economist at JPMorgan. Investors reacted to the data by driving the Australian dollar back to 70 US cents, from around US$0.7030, and towards a 61/2 year trough of US$0.6982 set on Wednesday. The retail sales data overshadowed trade figures, which showed the trade deficit improved to A$2.46 billion (HK$13.4 billion) in July, from a revised A$3.05 billion. This was due to a rebound in export values, while imports stayed relatively flat. Analysts said the latest set of data probably won't move the Reserve bank of Australia (RBA) into cutting rates any time soon. Since the last rate cut in May, the RBA appeared content to sit back and watch how the economy unfolds.