Australia’s Retail Sales Suffer Sharpest Drop in April
Arslan Butt • 1 min read
Retail sales in Australia experienced the sharpest fall ever recorded during the month of April as the country remained in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to data released by the ABS, retail sales declined by a seasonally adjusted 17.7% in April after rising by 8.5% during the previous month.
Sales across cafes, restaurants and food takeaway outlets fell by 35.4% while sales of non-essential goods like clothing, footwear and personal accessories declined by 53.6% during April. Even department stores registered a 14.9% decline in retail sales during the period.
Although Australia has since eased its lockdown restrictions and reopened some sectors of its economy, analysts have cautioned that it will take longer for retail sales to pick up to pre-pandemic levels on account of consumers turning more cautious about their spends in the near future. The continued dip in retail sales is expected to wipe off 2.1% from the country’s GDP in Q2 2020.
On a slightly positive note, ANZ Bank has observed a slight uptick in debit and credit card spending among consumers in Australia ever since the lockdown was lifted. In the week ending on May 27, total spending had increased by 3.3% YoY while retail spending was up by 25% compared to the corresponding period a year ago.