, Australia

Australia’s retail sales volumes rise 8.2% in Q4 2021

Thanks to the rise in sales in discretionary industries, following a lockdown in the previous quarter.

Australia’s retail sales volume posted a record-high increase of 8.2% in the last quarter of 2021 driven by sales in the discretionary industries, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Ben James, director of Quarterly Economic Wide Statistics at the ABS, said the seasonally adjusted 8.2% increase in retail sales volumes is the strongest quarterly rise on record, exceeding the record set in the third quarter of 2020.

Sales volumes followed the 4.4% decline in the previous quarter, and 3.4% higher than the June quarter 2021.

“Consumers enthusiastically returned to discretionary spending following the end of Delta related lockdowns in October, and the continued easing of restrictions over the quarter. Well publicised concerns over product availability and delivery timeliness led to consumers bringing forward their end of year shopping, in conjunction with a re-opening spending splurge due to pent up consumer demand,” James said.

“This post lockdown recovery aligns well with the previous nationwide COVID lockdown recovery in the September quarter 2020 where sales rose 6.3%, more than recovering the losses of the June 2020 quarter fall of 3.5%,” he added.

Per sector, the discretionary industries, which saw a sharp fall in the September quarter, led the increase with clothing, footwear, and personal accessory retailing leading with a 43.1% increase, followed by cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services rising by 18.8%.

Household goods retailing (9%), department stores (25%), and other retailing (6.8%) also increased.

Per state and territories, sales volumes at New South Wales and Victoria rose 15.3% and 10.2%, respectively, whilst the Australian Capital Territory increased 12.4%.

The states of Queensland (3%), Western Australia (1.6%), South Australia (1.1%), and Northern Territory (0.9%) saw an increase in sales volumes, whilst Tasmania declined 1.2%.

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