May Retail Turnover ‘Similar to December Sales’

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By Published On: July 3, 20200 Comments

While Australian adjust to the 'new normal', retail turnover has continued to lift, with some retailers seeing similar levels to those 'seen in December'.

Retail turnover in Australia has risen 16.9 percent in May, seasonally adjusted, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported.

This uplift in turnover is due to the gradual re-opening of stores and the continued boom for online retail.

“The gradual easing of social distancing regulations, and the re-opening of physical stores, bolstered retail trade in May,” said Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys.

“Retailers across a range of industries reported high numbers of consumers returning to stores, with some retailers noting levels similar to those seen in December.”

Clothing and footwear sales have increased by 129.2 percent month-on-month – however, the industries still remain ‘well below’ the same time period last year.

In May, online sales contributed to 10.1 percent of total retail turnover. This is down from the 11.1 percent contribution in April – caused mainly by the re-opening of stores Australia wide.

Online retail now contributes four points more the previous time period, which was 6.2 percent in May 2019.

This is a “huge” result for online retail, explained Dave Fear, the Head of Analytics at Power Retail.

“This does not include data from international companies, as ABS only surveys Australia Retailers,” he said. “And so the actual contribution of Online Retail to Total Retail in Australia is likely much higher than this.”

According to the ABS, YoY online retail revenue is up 74 percent in May. In the previous time period, online contributed $1,644.7 billion- online retail in May 2020 has contributed $2,859.1 billion.

“April saw the full might of lockdown restrictions hit the retail sector, with an unprecedented drop in turnover. The easing of restrictions in May was always going to see sales rebound, but it is still pleasing to see a sizeable increase,” said Dominique Lamb, the CEO of the National Retail Association.

“In this volatile environment, we can’t simply look at one month and take that as a barometer as to how retail is travelling. The past three months have seen retail trade go up and down like a yo-yo, so we need to be careful about thinking we’ve almost reached a recovery. Australia is in its first recession in 30 years and many retailers remain coy about the future given JobKeeper is due to end in September. The situation in Victoria is also a sage reminder that the reimposition of lockdown measures remains a distinct possibility.”

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