Government efforts to stimulate the economy in Australia have failed to lift retail sales in February, with retailers experiencing their worst month in eight and a half years.

Sales fell 2 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to AUS$18.87bn (£9.1bn) from AUS$19.2bn (£9.28bn) in January, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The news came despite a substantial fiscal spending package and aggressive interest rate cuts.
It has heightened fears that Australia could be heading for its first recession in almost 20 years.