ABS confirms bumper month of retail trade for November

| January 11, 2021

Australian retail sales increased 13.3 per cent last November, compared to the same time in 2019, according to official data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said it’s an outstanding result, confirming bumper Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and early Christmas shopping sales.

“November was an incredible month, with $31.7 billion worth of retail trade across the country – and that’s provided a much-needed shot in the arm for Australian retailers after what was a very challenging year,” Mr Zahra said.

“The November result was spurred on by the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which have well and truly been embraced by Australian shoppers. With many discretionary retailers making up to two-thirds of their yearly profits during this period, this result will help replenish cash reserves allowing many retailers to enter 2021 on a more stable footing.

“It’s pleasing to see year on year increases across the major categories with household goods (up $1.3 billion or 28 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessories (up more than $400 million or 18 per cent) and department stores (up $254 million or 16 per cent).

“We have seen very healthy pre and post-Christmas trading from retailers around the country, and look forward to seeing this strong momentum continue into next month’s ABS figures.

“Online has continued to be a powerhouse of activity, providing some offset against restrictions and Covid safety concerns. Australia Post reported December as its biggest month in history, with more than 52 million parcels delivered – an almost 20 per cent increase on the previous year. Total online sales in Australia have hit 11 per cent compared to 7.2 per cent the same time last year.

“We’re cautiously optimistic for retail in 2021, however there are concerns with JobKeeper and JobSeeker ending at the end of March. These two schemes have been key to stimulating the economy, and we know there are pockets of retail still struggling – in particular those who’ve been in areas affected by lockdowns in recent months,” Mr Zahra said.