shopping centre with elevators and people shopping
Source: Pixabay
  • ABS reports retail sales volumes up 2.5% for December quarter 2020.
  • Year on year volumes up 6.4% (ABS)
  • Overall growth in most areas except food, and household goods. (ABS)

After a tumultuous year that saw retail giants like Vicinity Centres lose $570M in value, retail could be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released their December figures on retail trade, and sales volumes are up by 2.5% for the December quarter 2020.

Compared to last year, that’s up 6.4% despite the restrictions hitting the retail sector hard.

In terms of price, the ABS said November 2020 to December 2020 saw a fall by 4.1%, year on year up 9.6%.

The increased numbers are mostly driven by clothing, footwear and personal accessories at 18.1%, with the hard-hit food and beverage sector still putting in 10.4%.

How sustainable is it?

The cost of living is up by 0.9% from last year, according to the ABS.

It isn’t a big problem for most unless you’re a smoker though, the ABS noting, “tobacco was the main contributor for three of the five population  sub-groups due to the annual excise tax increase of 12.5% and the bi-annual excise tax increase based on Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) indexation, both applied on 1 September 2020.”

Interestingly, new dwellings purchase prices were down overall from last year, seeing a fall by 0.6%.

Currently, the ABS reports that the seasonally adjusted turnover for retail December 2020 is $30.37B.

It’s a social fabric

Shopping and shopping centres could see a big change.

CEO of Scentre Group, Peter Allen, told the Australian that he hoped to turn Westfield into “a house of brands”.

The vision sees shopping going beyond what we know today as pure retail through to a hub for everything from childcare to co-working.

It could also include various allied health facilities all in one place, Mr Allen tells the Australian, making it an attractive place for health funds to set up shop.

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