Australian retail turnover fell 17.9 per cent in April 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to preliminary retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
This is the strongest seasonally adjusted fall ever published from the Retail Trade survey, following the strongest ever seasonally adjusted rise in March 2020. Turnover was down 9.4 per cent when compared to April 2019.
These preliminary figures, which will be subject to revision, show falls in every industry, with particularly strong falls in food retailing, cafes, restaurants and takeaways, and clothing, footwear and personal accessories.
The food retailing industry, which saw a strong rise in March due to unprecedented demand, fell 17.1 per cent from March 2020. Additional analysis indicates that the majority of products which rose substantially in March recorded falls in April 2020, however they remained at higher levels than April 2019.
While March saw a mix of impacts related to COVID-19 across industries, these impacts were overwhelmingly negative in April, as regulations regarding social distancing measures limited the ability of businesses to trade as normal for the entire month. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and department stores fell heavily in April and there were no offsetting rises in the other industries. Turnover in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and cafes, restaurants and takeaways is around half the level of April 2019.
Further information is available in Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 8501.0.55.008).
The ABS thanks all those who contributed data to this release. Further ABS data measuring the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
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