Retail Turnover Experiences Largest Fall of the Year

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By Published On: August 27, 20210 Comments

Retail turnover has taken a nosedive, falling 2.7 percent in July, making it the largest monthly fall of the year. 

According to the ABS, this follows a fall of 1.8 percent in June, after a small 0.4 percent increase the month prior.

Lockdown measures are the catalyst for this drop in turnover, explained Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. “Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in many parts of Australia continued to impact retail trade in July, with many non-essential retail businesses closing their physical stores.”

“In particular, the first full month of lockdown in New South Wales, following the Delta outbreak in June, saw retail turnover in the state fall 8.9 percent. This was the largest fall of any state and territory since August 2020,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, the categories with the most significant drops include clothing, footwear and personal accessories, dipping a whopping 15.4 percent in July. Moreover, department stores fell 11.4 percent, alongside cafes and food retailing, which dropped 12.3 percent. Other retailing, which includes online, rose slightly by 0.6 percent.

“Businesses have been left reeling from the Delta devastation and today’s figures confirm the severity of the lockdowns and the impacts they have on retail spending,” shared Paul Zahra, the CEO of the Australian Retailers Association.

“Consumer and business confidence has been shattered by the recent outbreaks in multiple states, and the state and federal supports just haven’t been enough to save a number of businesses from closing their doors permanently. The lockdowns are also having an impact on employment, with payroll jobs falling by nearly nine percent in Greater Sydney since the stay-at-home orders were introduced in late June, and a significant proportion of those losses were in the retail industry,” he said.

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