Record breaking retail figures for March

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prove what we all knew: March was a record breaking month for grocery.

Seasonally adjusted, preliminary trade figures show retail turnover rose by 8.2% – the biggest rise ever recorded by the ABS and even higher than pre-GST panic buying in June, 2000, which was a close second at an increase of 8.1%.

Unsurprisingly sales of toilet paper, tissue paper, rice and pasta were major contributors to the increase, with each product recording a doubling in monthly turnover.

Final figures to be published in the Retail Trade, Australia publication, due out on May 6, are expected to show unprecedented demand from grocery, particularly in supermarkets, liquor and specilised food.

However, while it was good news for grocery, it was offset by falls in cafes, restaurants, food take away and apparel retailing, on the back of social distancing measures.

While rise in sales of home office supplies also showed many were heeding advice to stay home.

The figures come as Coles and Woolworths reopen their home delivery and ‘click & collect’ services to consumers, amid an ease in panic buying and a replenishing of stock on supermarket shelves. And as some social distancing restrictions in NSW, QLD and WA begin to be eased.

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