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Australia retail sales lift 3 percent in June


Retail sales in Australia lifted slightly in June, despite coronavirus lockdowns and social restrictions in much of the country, which hit consumer demand.

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Australia’s retail sales gained 2.9 percent in June, compared to June 2020, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics.

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said the June results reflect the challenges of Covid-19 for retailers, as the nation continues to use lockdowns to curb the growing number of coronavirus cases nationally.

“The impact of Covid-19 restrictions is clear in the preliminary report. Lockdowns are always going to affect retail sales, and even the businesses who are still able to trade are limited with reduced foot traffic and takeaway options only,” Lamb said.

“Victoria and New South Wales have seen the greatest drop, as both states had stay-at-home orders throughout the month, and Queensland was affected by their snap lockdown and travel restrictions,” continued Lamb.

Month-on-month retail sales dipped 1.8 percent, compared to May, after a 0.4 percent uptick.

By category, June’s clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 9.5 percent seasonally adjusted, brought down by an 11.1 percent decline in clothing. Department stores fell 7 percent, and pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing dipped 4.3 percent.

Supermarket and grocery stores, however, rose 1.5 percent, while specialised food retailing gained 2.7 percent.

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Looking forward, July retail sales are expected to fall again.

“We expect retail sales to fall again in July as the Sydney lockdown intensifies, another Melbourne lockdown starts and South Australia also falls into lockdown. As the risks of a long Sydney lockdown increase, so do the risks of a muted recovery,” ANZ economists wrote in a note obtained by Reuters.