The November result was better than the 0.3 per cent rise expected by the market, with the Australian dollar spiking above 72 USA cents on the release, before cooling to 71.96 at 1135 AEDT.
Overall sales fell by 3 per cent on the previous year - more sharply than economists polled by Bloomberg had foreseen - after clocking two months of growth, including a modest 0.1 per cent rise in October.
SINGAPORE retailers' performance turned negative in November 2018, despite some uplift from Black Friday shopping, according to figures from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday.
The total sales value of food and beverage services in November was estimated at $845 million, compared to $826 million in the same month in 2017.
The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in November 2018, following a 0.2 percent rise in October 2018.
Petrol stations reported a sales increase of 3.1 per cent on higher pump prices, but sales in fact dipped by 0.7 per cent when the price effect was taken into consideration.
Cumulative credit card spending through the CBA's network fell 3.7% between November to early January compared to the levels of a year earlier, underscoring the risk of weakness in the December retail sales report. Even so, Australia's retail sector faces several headwinds amid a downturn in the country's property market, sluggish wage growth and high household debt.
As expected, there was a significant rise in online sales, contributing 6.6 per cent to total retail turnover in November.
Excluding food retailing, retail turnover climbed 1.9% YoY - also the smallest gain since May.
"The rise of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy sales have seen households bring forward their Christmas shopping and Boxing Day Sales shopping into November", NAB said in a note on Friday morning.
By comparison, online sales accounted for 5.5% of total sales a year prior.
"Household goods retailing (1.2pc) led the rises, while there was also a notable rise for clothing, footwear and personal accessories retailing (1.5pc)", said Ben Faulkner, acting director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys at the ABS. Sales in South Australia were unchanged from October.
Just this month apparel retailer Kathmandu posted weaker-than-expected Christmas sales in Australia and New Zealand, disappointing investors who sent its shares to 10-month lows.