Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday showed retail sales rose 1.1% in January from December, when it dived a revised 2.1%. Analysts had looked for a bounce of 1.5%, though the series has been very volatile in recent months as spending habits changed.

Sales of A$35.7 billion ($23.18 billion) were up just 1.1% from a year earlier, a weak result given the country's rapid population growth.

($1 = 1.5401 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Kim Coghill)