A gradual pick-up is expected over the course of 2013.
SMALL businesses are making more sales in food and travel, but sales of appliances, clothing and homewares remain weak, according to the ANZ Small Business Sales Trends report for October.
The report, released on Sunday, said overall sales growth among small businesses remained soft, but were better in resources-rich Western Australia and Northern Territory.
Sales dampened in months when people were watching football finals, rather than spending money elsewhere.
''There's no doubt the environment continues to remain challenging for small business in Australia, particularly for those in sectors and states not involved in the mining industry,'' ANZ general manager of small business Nick Reade said.
''It's positive to see such a strong result for companies offering travel and food-related services, but for retailers selling appliances like fridges and TVs, clothing and household items, the outlook remains less favourable.''
Mr Reade said lower interest rates were likely to benefit the housing and durable goods sectors, but the pick-up in 2013 would be gradual.
The ANZ report said total small business sales rose by 3.6 per cent for the three months to October 2012, compared with the same period a year ago.
In the three months to October, sales grew by 7.1 per cent in Western Australia and by 5.5 per cent in the Northern Territory.
Sales of food and travel-related services grew by around 6 per cent.