Retail sales rise 2.7 per cent in June

Australian retail turnover rose 2.7 per cent in June 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said this followed a rise of 16.9 per cent in May 2020.

“The June month saw the continued recovery of industries impacted by trading restrictions in April and early May,” said Mr James. “There were large month-on-month rises in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (27.9 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (20.5 per cent).”

Food retailing (0.9 per cent) was lifted by a rise in sales in Victoria at the end of the month. Other retailing (0.3 per cent) rose in June, while there were falls in department stores (-12.1 per cent) and household goods retailing (-3.2 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in New South Wales (3.7 per cent), Victoria (4.1 per cent), Western Australia (2.5 per cent), South Australia (1.3 per cent), Tasmania (4.0 per cent), Queensland (0.4 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (3.8 per cent). The Northern Territory (-4.9 per cent) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in June 2020.

Online sales remain elevated, making up 9.7 per cent of total retail sales in June. Online contributed 6.1 per cent in June 2019.

Quarterly volumes fall 3.4 per cent

Retail volumes fell 3.4 per cent in the June quarter 2020, seasonally adjusted. The fall follows a rise of 0.7 per cent in the March quarter 2020.

“Despite monthly rises in May and June 2020, the June quarter saw the largest fall in seasonally adjusted retail volumes since the introduction of the GST in the September quarter 2000,” said Mr James.

“The quarterly fall was driven by falls in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-29.1 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-22.0 per cent), which both saw very large falls in April. There were also falls in food retailing (-1.6 per cent) following a March quarter rise, and Other retailing (-0.7 per cent).”

The falls were slightly offset by a rise in household goods retailing (14.6 per cent), with high consumer demand across furniture, electrical goods and hardware. Department stores also rose (0.1 per cent) in seasonally adjusted volume terms.

The trend series has been suspended from February 2020 due to COVID-19 and associated changes that will impact the original and seasonally adjusted series.

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