Preliminary retail turnover down 4.2% in December: Australia

Australian retail turnover fell 4.2 per cent in December 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to preliminary retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Turnover rose 9.4 per cent when compared to December 2019.

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said: “Falls were recorded in five of the six retail industries, led by household goods retailing.

Household goods retailing, other retailing, department stores, and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, fell after large rises in November. November sales were underpinned by an easing of restrictions in Victoria, new product releases and Black Friday sales.”

Food retailing also fell in December, as COVID-19 restrictions limited household gatherings in some states and territories. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services was the only industry to rise.

Victoria led the falls by state, down 7 per cent following a 22 per cent rise in November, while New South Wales fell 5 per cent as localised restrictions in Sydney impacted turnover. All states and territories, except for the Northern Territory, fell this month.

There was a 2.4 per cent increase for the December quarter in current price, seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a rise in the September quarter of 7.0 per cent. Quarterly volume estimates will be included in the final Retail Trade release on 5 February 2021.

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