Retail Sales, Prices Jump in June


Prices at retail stores made the biggest monthly jump in 31 years, increasing 1.2 per cent, while retail turnover was up 2.7 per cent according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday.

Online sales were also elevated making 9.7 per cent of total sales in June, up 2.6 per cent on 2019.

However it was not enough to boost the quarter which fell 3.4 per cent, the largest decline in volumes since the introduction of the GST.

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Total retail trade

StateJuneJune Quarter
New South Wales3.7%-3.6%
South Australia1.3%-0.4%
Western Australia2.5%0.2%
Northern Territory-4.9%1.3%

^Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, retail trade June (seasonally adjusted)

ABS director Ben James said the jump in June sales followed a rise of 16.9 per cent in May 2020.

“The June month saw the continued recovery of industries impacted by trading restrictions in April and early May,” James said.

“There were large month-on-month rises in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services [27.9 per cent], and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing [20.5 per cent].”

The results followed the worst-ever month of decline in April.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said even though the country was going through a recession, consumers were continuing to spend.

“In part, spending in June was boosted by the continued re-opening of ‘bricks and mortar’ locations such as clothing stores and restaurants. But on-line retailers continue to experience solid demand,” James said.

“It is clear that Aussie consumers bought up big on items that would make confinement more bearable–or even enjoyable.”

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Retail purchases June quarter 2020

Quarterly change
Sporting goods, toys, entertainment22.3%
Hardware, building, garden supplies20.4%
Liquor retailing17.6%
Electrical, electronic, computers13.3%
Furniture, flooring, textile goods8.5%
Flowers, antiques, on-line7.1%
Department stores0.1%
Butchers, bakers, fruit/veg-0.3%
Total retail-3.4%
Supermarkets/grocery stores-3.9%
Takeaway food services-10.0%
Pharmaceutical cosmetic and toiletry-13.3%
Footwear, watches, accessories-21.2%
Cafes and restaurants-43.7%

^Source: ABS, CommSec

The CommSec chief economist said consumers were spending more than a year ago with June up 8.5 per cent on the year.

“While the bulk of the increased spending is the purchase of more goods, there is also a healthy spattering of inflation,” James said.

“In the June quarter, prices of retail goods and services were up 1.2 per cent to stand 4.2 per cent higher than a year ago.

“Once a degree of normalcy returns, price growth should soften.”

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