Australian retail turnover rose 2.4% in June according to preliminary retail trade figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Turnover rose 8.2% when compared to the same period last year. However, while food retailing saw a minor rise of 0.9%, with a rise in supermarkets and grocery stores, the ABS said it was offset by a fall in liquor retailing.
Rises in June 2020 were led by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing.
While some restrictions on trade remained in June, many businesses in these industries saw a full month of trade, having been closed for the first week of May 2020.
Rises in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services exceeded 20% for the second consecutive month, but remain 17% below the levels of June 2019
National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said the road to retail recovery following the “COVID-19 wrecking ball” remains long and fraught with hazards.
“Retail turnover in June experienced a solid rise in sales following the lifting of several business restrictions,” Lamb said.
“It was the first full month that restaurants and clothing stores had been allowed to trade, with many being forced to close in April and May. We expected a pick up in sales for these businesses but turnover for this section of retail is still well below June 2019.”
Lamb noted that retail remains in a volatile state and the reimposition of lockdowns in Victoria demonstrates that the sector is far from out of the woods.
“We can’t accurately assess how retail is travelling by looking at one month in isolation. In the last four months’ turnover has fluctuated wildly due to panic-buying, lockdown restrictions and economic uncertainty,” Ms Lamb said.
“The second-wave of COVID-19 infections in Victoria, along with the subsequent reimposition of restrictions, underlines that the future is far from certain.”