The Retail Rebound: Turnover Increases 1.6% ABS Reports

Power Retail By Power Retail | 20 Nov 2020

Preliminary retail turnover has increased by 1.6 percent in October, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported. 

When compared to October 2019, retail turnover increased by 7.3 percent.

“The reopening of retail stores in Victoria at the end of October led to a boost to all industries, with the exception of food retailing,” said Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys.

“Victoria rose 5.2 percent from September 2020 but remains 5.7 per cent below the levels of October 2019.”

While the leading industries included cafes, restaurants and take away food, there was also a lift in sales for clothing, footwear, personal accessory retailing, other retailing and department stores.

Victoria led the state increases, and NSW followed with an increase of 1.6 percent. Western Australia experienced a small rise in retail sales, but it led overall in annual terms, 15.1 percent above all levels of October 2019.

“Victorian retailers reopening at the end of the month has helped to provide a boost in overall turnover for the month of October,” said Lindsay Carrol, the Deputy CEO of the National Retail Association (NRA).

“According to the ABS, retail sales for October are well up on the corresponding month last year but we are still operating in challenging times and there’s no room for complacency.

“The continuation of government assistance measures and Australians being unable to travel overseas does mean that consumers currently have a healthy level of discretionary spending power,” she explained.

With South Australia closing its retail stores to prevent the spread of a cluster outbreak, the NRA understands how ‘volatile’ the environment is.

“Recent events in South Australia underline how volatile the current environment is, but today’s figures are encouraging for retail as we march towards Christmas,” she said.  “We’ve just entered the Christmas trade period – the second-half of November and all of December – and a bumper festive season will mark the start of a retail recovery.

“Many businesses desperately need a Christmas sales splurge to stay afloat heading into 2021 and hopefully we see further increases in monthly turnover between now and the end of the year.”

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