empty shopping shelf
Image – Canva.
  • Although trade is down 1.1% for February, it's up almost 9% year-on-year
  • Ongoing COVID concerns cited as the main issue, NSW and QLD offset part of the fall
  • Previously, retail turnover rose 0.5% in January while online retail saw 4% growth

Understandably, retail across Australia has seen mixed results over the past few months, with snap lockdowns across Western Australia, Queensland and Melbourne affecting physical retail, among other ongoing issues nationally.

The Property Tribune reported online retail saw 4% growth in March, as per NAB’s Online Retail Sales Index, and slow recovery of 0.5% growth in turnover from December 2020 to January 2021.

Seasonally adjusted percentage change
Source – Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on retail trade, turnover for February dropped 1.1%, undoing the marginal growth of prior months. Overall, however, retail trade rose 8.7% year-on-year to February.

“Restrictions due to COVID-19 in Victoria, and parts of Western Australia, drove the February fall. Victoria fell 4 per cent, and Western Australia fell 6 per cent, as trade was restricted for five days in each state.”

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Ben James

Mr James also noted that the “falls were partially offset by rises in New South Wales and Queensland. Both these states had seen trade impacted by COVID-19 in January, and in February saw rises in industries such as clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and department stores.”

Seasonally adjusted and trend level
Source – Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted, Australia saw $30.192 billion in retail turnover.

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