The retail recovery is back on track, with a new record set for sales in March. This month has seen an increase of 1.6 percent, which is the highest increase since November 2021.
Retail sales have risen in March 2022 to a record level, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shared. The 1.6 percent increase was up 0.8 percent on the previous record, set in November last year.
This follows a 1.8 percent lift in February, and a 1.6 percent rise in January, coming off the back of a 4.1 percent drop in December.
“Rising prices, combined with the continued easing of restrictions across the country has led to rises in turnover in all three months of the March quarter,” shared Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys.
Increases in consumer spending rose across discretionary and non-discretionary industries, he explained. “Following flooding in late February and early March along the east coast, impacted businesses regained lost turnover from forced closures as consumers restocked pantries,’ he said.
Household retailing saw the biggest increase, lifting 3.4 percent in March. This was followed by other retailing (two percent), department stores (4.1 percent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.5 percent).
After the challenging past few months, this result is welcomed across the retail industry. Aussies spent $33.6 billion in March, both online and in-store, which has eclipsed the previous record of $33.3 billion in November 2021.
“We’re in an uncertain economic environment, with cost-of-living pressures starting to bite and interest rates rising for the first time in over a decade,” said Paul Zahra, the CEO of the Australian Retailers Association. “Whilst the top-line performance of retail trade is strong, consumer confidence has fallen significantly this week and we could see more subdued levels of consumer spending in the months ahead as people start to tighten their household budgets.”
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