Retailers are disappointed by the central bank's decision to leave the cash rate unchanged, saying they're expecting a slow start to the trading year.

At its first board meeting of 2013 on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the cash rate at three per cent, saying fears about global economic growth have abated.

However Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond says retailers are still doing it tough.

"January retail figures which are out next month might paint a brighter picture after the school kids bonus arrives in the family bank accounts, but with no other stimulus to discretionary spending, retail will remain in the doldrums," Ms Osmond said.

She said despite weak inflation figures the RBA chose to adopt a "wait and see" approach.

"Retailers don't need to be so cautious, they know what they will see," Ms Osmond said.

She said the election could also potentially slow consumer spending this year.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) renewed its calls for banks to cut their rates regardless of the cash rate.

"The evidence is clear banks and lending institutions can more than afford to cut rates for their consumer and business customers," ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman said.

"The only sensible decision from the RBA on interest rates would be to cut them to 2.5 per cent in light of suppressed economic conditions and pressure on non-mining sectors, including retail," he said.

"However, regardless of the cash rate, home mortgage and business borrowers are bearing the burden of overblown pricing as a result of banks failing to set interest rates relative to borrowing costs."