Retail turnover has fallen 1.1 percent in September, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This updates the Preliminary result of -1.5 percent and follows a fall of four percent in August.
“Falls in the September month were led by household goods retailing (-3.6 percent), and food retailing (-1.5 percent), however, both industries continue to trade at elevated levels compared to September 2019,” says Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys.
Retail turnover has risen 6.5 percent in the September quarter of 2020, which is the strongest quarterly volume in the history of the series.
“The quarterly rise was driven by a recovery in industries that saw sharp falls in the June quarter 2020, as well as continued strength in industries such as food retailing, other retailing and household goods,” James explains.
“Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (28.1 percent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (35.5 percent) led the rises. Despite the quarter-on-quarter rise, both industries continue to trade below the level of September 2019 in seasonally adjusted volume terms.”
Across the country, there were rises and falls that offset the overall growth. South Australia fell by 29 percent, followed by ACT, which dropped by 2.4 percent. Western Australia saw a fall by 1.7 percent, and Queensland followed with a dip by 1.2 percent.
New South Wales fell by 0.9 percent and Victoria dipped by 0.4 percent. The only state or territory to experience an increase in retail turnover was Northern territory, which rose by 4.3 percent.
“Early this year approximately 50 million garment workers lost their wages, totalling to $5.79 billion USD, as the economic impacts of COVID-19 caused Australian retail foot traffic to fall by 71%. 2020 has hit the fashion industry in a way we could have never expected but it also provides companies an opportunity to re-evaluate, reset and build back better to protect their most vulnerable workers,” explains John Hickey, CEO of Baptist World Aid Australia.
“While it’s encouraging to see a strong upward trend of retail volumes, it’s crucial brands and consumers understand how it will impact workers in the supply chain. With Christmas fast approaching and online sales remaining elevated, consumers continue to hold the power to drive industry change in the meaningful way by aligning with ethical fashion brands. COVID-19 should act as a catalyst for consumers to demand that companies demonstrate purpose-driven, sustainable actions.”
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