Retail spending hits pre-Omicron high

Predictions and speculation that Australian consumers would rush to release pent-up demand following the end of long lockdowns has proved accurate.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail turnover continued to rise in November 2021. This increase followed a 4.9 per cent rise in October and a 1.3 per cent rise in September.

ABS director of quarterly economy wide statistics Ben James called out the increase as the fourth-strongest monthly rise in recent times and a 5.8 per cent increase on the levels of retail spending seen during the same period of 2020.

According to the ABS, Australian retail sales are now at their highest level ever recorded.

“Further easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the south-eastern states and territories has seen the retail industry recover all lost momentum caused by the Delta outbreak,” he said.

Broken out by states, Victoria recorded the largest rise at 20 per cent.

“Continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including less strict density and capacity limits, in New South Wales (5.1 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (19.2 per cent) led to rises in turnover to record levels,” Mr James said.

With the exception of the Northern Territory, all Australian states recorded record rises in retail sales.

The data released by the ABS supports previous speculation that the conclusion of lockdowns in October would pave the way for pent-up demand consumers to be unleashed.

The data found that the extended November sales period saw record sales across clothing, household goods, department stores and the wider retail sector.

“Consumers brought forward Christmas spending to take advantage of sales and minimise delivery and stock availability concerns ahead of the festive season,” the ABS said.

Other trackers over the period recorded similar upticks, with Zip’s Spending Index finding a significant increase in retail spending of 72 per cent in the six days following the end of Sydney’s lockdown restrictions.

Food retail was the only industry to experience a fall in spending, though cafes, restaurants and takeaway outlets rose 9.3 per cent over the same period.

Article courtesy of Nestegg

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