Australians adapt to restrictions and ARA CEO suggests online sales set to become the new normal

by | Business Growth

The ABS has just released its March retail trade figures and while the figures confirm growth in food (+27.2%), liquor (+33.9%) and pharmacy (+29.4%) categories, significant falls were recorded in sales across discretionary categories such as clothing, footwear, and personal accessories (-22.6%) as Australians adapted to restrictions and stocked up on additional items for lockdown

Following the release of figures, Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said that March retail trade figures released today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting year-on-year growth of 10.1%, were consistent with expectations of strong pre-lockdown specific category growth, whilst the majority of retailers shut their doors for COVID-19 lockdown.

“March was the eye of the COVID-19 storm for retailers, with all but essential service retailers forced into the closure of their physical stores during the lockdown. Whilst that pain of closure has continued during April and into May, we have seen some gentle upside begin as many stores begin to reopen again”

Mr. Zahra said retailers had swiftly adapted to the new conditions, with a jump in online sales set to become the new normal.

“Online sales have skyrocketed, and we expect that shopping habits we have seen will be permanent, as retailers offer new options such as curbside pickup and retail-to-go options,” he said.

Monthly Retail Growth (February 2020 – March 2020, seasonally adjusted)

Department stores (-8.9%), Food retailing (24.1%), Household goods retailing (9.1%), Cafés, restaurants, and takeaway food services (-22.9%), Other retailing (16.6%), and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-22.6%).

Western Australia (9.9%), Australian Capital Territory (9.5%), Queensland (8.9%), Victoria (7.7%), South Australia (9.4%), Tasmania (8.9%), New South Wales (8.0%), and Northern Territory (11.6%).

Overall month-on-month sales growth: 8.5%.

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (March 2019 – March 2020, seasonally adjusted)

Food retailing (27.2%), Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-22.6%), Other retailing (19.1%), Household goods retailing (10.3%), and Department stores (-6.6%), and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-24.9%).

Tasmania (15.1%), Queensland (13.2%), Victoria (9.4%), Western Australia (13.5%), Australian Capital Territory (11.0%), South Australia (10.2%), Northern Territory (10.8%), and New South Wales (7.1%)

Overall year-on-year sales growth: 10.1%.

Information sourced from ARA Media Release 6 May 2020

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