Retail sales rebound in July, long road yet to recovery

Retail sales rebounded solidly to kick-start the 2020-21 financial year according to the preliminary report for July, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The sector recorded a nationwide rise of 3.3 per cent on the June figures, while each state and territory experienced increased turnover except for Victoria.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that while the preliminary figures are very good, the road to recovery will remain a long and arduous one.

“The results are certainly very good, but we need to be mindful that we are operating in an incredibly volatile time. There’s a lot that’s still to play out and there are myriad variables at play,” Ms Lamb said.

“The key question to ask is ‘how long will the good times last?’ – subsidies such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker will have to end eventually and the events in Victoria demonstrate that a second-wave is possible in any state.

“We still only have around 80 per cent of shopping centre stores trading and the drop in tourism dollars from international and domestic border closures are bound to have an impact.

“The point isn’t to talk down these good figures, it’s to remind everyone that things can change at any minute and these results do come off the back of temporary government assistance.

“The August report will include the impact of stage 4 lockdown across Victoria and it will be interesting to see if it unveils a hit on consumer confidence more broadly.”

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