Retail Sales Bouncing Back in February

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By Published On: March 29, 20220 Comments

February retail sales are bouncing back, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has indicated, despite ongoing supply chain issues throughout the start of the year.

Despite the rocky start to the year with COVID regulations and disruptions to supply chains, retail turnover has increased 1.8 percent this month, following an increase of 1.6 percent in January.

This comes off the back of a fall of 4.1 percent in December 2021 and a rise of 7.1 percent in November. Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys explained that lower case figures influenced better consumer confidence. “Lower COVID-19 case numbers in February, alongside the further easing of restrictions over the month, saw consumer spending return to similar behaviour seen previously as states and territories come out of a COVID-19 wave,” he said.

“Most discretionary spending industries experienced strong rises once again as consumer cautiousness lessened, leading to an increase in mobility and improved business conditions. On the other hand, non-discretionary industries, such as Food retailing, saw their turnover contract this month.”

Across each category, Cafes, takeaway and restaurants saw the biggest increase, lifting 9.7 percent. Fashion also saw a significant bounce back, increasing 11.2 percent; department stores up 11.1 percent and household goods retailing up 2.3 percent.

“It’s encouraging to see Department stores starting to see some growth after many months of decline, as well as the continued uplift in fashion and hospitality – two categories that have been deeply impacted by COVID,” said Paul Zahra, the CEO of the Australian Retailers Association.

“Business costs are increasing, there’s inflationary pressures and staff shortages, while supply chain delays and costs are continuing to bite. Business disruption is very much an ongoing concern with the Ukraine conflict abroad creating a ripple of cost pressures for retailers and customers and at home flooding has displaced thousands of Australians and impacted many businesses.”

State by state, NSW led the increases, up 3.9 percent. This is followed by Victoria (1.7 percent) and Queensland (1.5 percent). Western Australia dropped 2.9 percent, and NT also fell 3.8 percent.

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