Retailers are suffering from the double whammy of declining sales and the cost of the carbon tax, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says.
New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday showed retail sales declined 0.2 per cent in December, the third consecutive monthly fall.
"No amount of spin by (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard and (Treasurer) Wayne Swan can hide the fact that the economy is suffering from Australians reluctant to spend while the government obsesses about itself rather than govern the country," Mr Hockey said in a statement.
"Retailers are suffering a double impact - recording fewer sales while having to absorb the cost of the carbon tax."
He said Labor had no answers to help retailers and instead was foreshadowing further tax increases in the May budget.