- New retail trade figures revealed a 2.7% fall in sales in July
- This figure is the largest fall for the year
- Tasmania displayed the strongest growth as NSW saw the greatest decline
Retail sales fell 2.7% in July, marking the largest monthly fall in 2021, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
July’s retail sales figures have surpassed the previous largest fall of a 1.8% decline in June, following a 0.4% rise in May.
Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, attributed the decline to the impact of ongoing Covid related restrictions.
“Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in many parts of Australia continued to impact retail trade in July, with many non-essential retail businesses closing their physical stores.
Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys
The area of clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing were most severely impacted in July, with a 15.4% decline. Cafes, restaurants and food services took a hit with a 12.3% drop in sales. Similarly, department stores saw sales fall 11.4%.
The most impacted retail areas were those which have seen the most physical store closures.
State by State
Varying degrees of retail growth and decline was seen across the states and territories.
Unsurprisingly, New South Wales was the greatest source of Australia’s decline in retail sales.
“In particular, the first full month of lockdown in New South Wales, following the Delta outbreak in June, saw retail turnover in the state fall 8.9%. This was the largest fall of any state and territory since August 2020,” said Mr James.
Monthly Retail Turnover by State and Territory
South Australia and Queensland saw retail sales fall 3.3% and 0.9% respectively.
Victoria has shown strong growth (1.3%) given the restrictions in the state during July. The strongest growth was seen in Tasmania where retail sales increased 2.7% during the month.
Michael Ferguson, Tasmania’s Minister for Finance, said the figures showed that Tasmania’s economy continues to charge ahead.
“These fantastic results are testament to Tasmania’s high business confidence, with Tasmanians backing local businesses and having the confidence to spend when out and about,” he said.