Australia’s retail trading conditions rebounded last month as a fully opened Victoria and record sales from Black Friday helped provide a spending sugar hit to a sector that has struggled for the best part of 2020.
Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows retail turnover for November shot up 7 per cent compared to the prior month, with large national rises in clothing, footwear and department store sales.
The surge of more than $2 billion in turnover over the month followed a 1.4 per cent increase in October.
Director of quarterly economy-wide surveys, Ben James, said Victoria had the biggest monthly rise, primarily due to pent-up demand from its extended second lockdown.
“Victoria saw a large rise, up 21 per cent, as retail stores experienced a full month of trade following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in that State. Excluding Victoria, retail sales rose 2.7 per cent,” he said.
Compared to November 2019, national retail turnover figures were 13.2 per cent higher.
Mr James said South Australia’s short lockdown resulted in a flat turnover result for the month.
“By industry, household goods retailing (13 per cent) led the rises, as Black Friday sales combined with major product releases in the electrical subgroup led to a spike in turnover across the country,” the ABS said.
Australia’s economy has been recovering rapidly since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, with consumer confidence and hiring surging on the improved health position.
Yet, the data precede a recent outbreak in north Sydney.
“The rise of these sale periods has continued to bring forward the typical Christmas shopping period from December into November,” said Ben Udy, Australia economist at Capital Economics, who expects sales to ease going forward.
“This effect may have been especially notable this year given the switch toward online shopping already made in earlier months.”
Figures provided by eStore Logistics showed online sales were up 46 per cent in November from a year earlier. Home and renovations retailers, food, beverages and alcohol outlets and department stores were the top performers, it said.