ABS figures show rise in June retail trade

Preliminary figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show retail turnover rose 2.4% in June (seasonally adjusted).

Compared to June, 2019, turnover was also found to have risen 8.2%, an optimistic sign consumers appear to be willing to spend as lockdown measures ease, at least in areas not experiencing a second rise in COVID-19 cases.

The upturn was driven largely by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, which saw rises of more than 20%, but were still down 17% below June, 2019 levels. Clothing, footwear and personal accessories were also up 19% (6% below June, 2019).

Food retailing was up 0.9% for the month, however rises in supermarkets and grocery stores were offset by falls in liquor, however remained elevated, in part due to stockpiling at the end of the month, particularly in Victoria.

Perishable goods, particularly, have experienced a spike, rising 14.4% on June, 2019. Non perishable goods were also up 12.4% and all other products by 7.8%. More meals being prepared and eaten at home are largely believed to be behind the increases.

And while department stores experienced a sharp rise in May, they experienced a 12% drop in June.

The final monthly estimate will be published in the BS’s Retail Trade, Australia, due out August 4.

According to e-commerce focussed fulfilment provider eStore Logistics, who work with brands such as Kogan and Temple & Webster, online trading has also recorded healthy trading in June. Their data found year-on-year increases in customer orders of 81% in June, down slightly from 99% in May, but still up on the 73% increase seen in April.

However CEO Leigh Williams said the July figures were down slightly, as consumers began returning to shopping in-store.

“So far in July, ecommerce activity dropped significantly in the first few weeks as consumers enjoyed their time out of lockdown and slowed down on purchases. However, since Victoria’s lockdown, we have again seen record levels of online purchases, despite consumers having already purchased necessary working-from-home office or leisure items,” Mr Williams said.

“Whether July’s ABS figures therefore come out healthy depends on the ability of retailers to satisfy online demand for product categories such as healthy and beauty – our data suggests these products are being brought in record numbers by consumers this month. Long term, retailers need to expect that consumers are unlikely to fully return to pre-COVID habits of buying these products just in bricks-and-mortar stores.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top