Eased restrictions trigged record spending sprees in Australia, following last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

According to newly released figures, retail sales jumped 7.3 per cent in November, which was the fourth-strongest monthly rise on record.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data reveals shoppers brought forward Christmas spending and took advantage of sales, as spending rose to $33.4 billion.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said new year spending is expected to slow, as businesses face new challenges with the rising cases of the Omicron variant.
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said new year spending is expected to slow, as businesses face new challenges with the rising cases of the Omicron variant. (Bloomberg)

People also went shopping ahead of the festive season to minimise delivery and stock availability concerns.

There were record sales for clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (38.2 per cent), household goods retailing (11.6 per cent), department stores (26.0 per cent) as well as other retailing (7.3 per cent).

Spending at cafes, restaurants, and takeaway retailers rose 9.3 per cent, as people ventured outside of their homes, while sales in the food retailing industry fell 2.5 per cent.

All of the figures are seasonally adjusted.

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics Ben James said the 7.3 per cent increase is the fourth-strongest monthly rise in the series, with retail sales now at their highest level ever recorded, up 5.8 per cent on the previous record set in November 2020.

Surry Hills locals enjoy a drink at the Dolphin Hotel as the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
Spending at cafes, restaurants, and takeaway retailers rose 9.3 per cent. (SMH)
“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,” Mr James said.
Victoria recorded the largest state rise, up 20.0 per cent, reaching its highest level of the series.

“This follows the state’s lockdown ending in late October.”

Shoppers at Pitt Street Mall in Sydney.
The easing of density and capacity limits in New South Wales led to rises in turnover to record levels. (Anna Kucera)
Apart from the Northern Territory, all remaining jurisdictions also recorded retail sales rises to record levels.

The ABS said turnover in the Northern Territory fell 2.7 per cent as “lockdown restrictions introduced throughout the month negatively impacted sales”.

Online sales remain elevated, representing 12.5 per cent of total retailing in November.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said new year spending is expected to slow, as businesses face new challenges with the rising cases of the Omicron variant.
Kikki.K founder Kristina Karlsson at a new Kikki.K store at Chadstone shopping centre in Melbourne in 2015.

Stationery favourite latest victim of Australian retail crisis

“Whilst retailers had an upbeat trading period in the lead up to Christmas, post-Christmas sales are unlikely to be as strong as we anticipated given the rising number of cases and flow-on effects to businesses and consumer confidence,” ARA CEO Paul Zahra said.

The ARA said in response to rising cases, some businesses have had to limit their trading hours due to the number of staff in isolation, while others have had to close stores altogether in some locations.

Source: 9News

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