Retail sales bounce back strongly in October after Delta lockdowns

Friday 26 November 2021

Australian retail sales increased 5.2% in October compared to the same time last year, and increased 4.9% compared to the previous month, according to figures released today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Victoria and NSW led the way after emerging from lockdowns in October. Sales in Victoria are up 10.2% and increased 2.4% in NSW compared to the same time last year. While sales increased significantly in the ACT in October compared to the prior month, they are down 11.1% compared to October 2020.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories bounced back strongly in October, up 5.8% compared to the same time last year. Food retailing, household goods and cafes, restaurants and takeaways also recorded positive year on year growth, however department stores are down 3.3% compared to October 2020.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra said with the worst of the pandemic now behind us, retailers are gearing up for Christmas and are being spurred on by today’s Black Friday sales.

“There’s just 28 days to go till Christmas and retailers are in full swing, ramping up their operations for the busiest time of year on the retail calendar,” Mr Zahra said.

“With Victoria and NSW now out of lockdown, we’ve seen sales bounce back strongly in those states in October and it’s pleasing to also see clothing, footwear and personal accessories back recording positive year on year growth.

“Today’s Black Friday sales are providing businesses with strong sales momentum, with $5.4 billion forecast to be spent over the next four days, which is nearly a million dollars a minute.

“There’s offers across the board, both in stores and online, from homewares to fashion and electronics as well. The event is renowned for having the biggest retail bargains pre-Christmas and it’s gaining in popularity every year. Black Friday originated in the United States to tie in the with Thanksgiving holiday, but it’s now become a global phenomenon with spending in Australia last year up 50% on the year before.

“Computers, appliances, games toys, clothing and cosmetics are among the most popular purchases as consumers snap up some bargains and shop early for Christmas.

“With vaccine checking in place in Victoria, we ask consumers to be patient and respectful towards retail staff who are doing their best under difficult circumstances. Pleasingly, the NSW Government has confirmed vaccine checks will be removed next month, which is a credit to everyone in the community who’s got the jab. The removal of density limits is also an enormous relief for NSW retailers who can look forward to maximising their trading potential even further in the lead up to Christmas. We repeat our calls for national alignment around Covid protocols as we enter the vaccinated economy.”

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