Retail sales fell 2.7% in July

Media Release

Australian retail turnover fell 2.7 per cent in July 2021, seasonally adjusted, according to the Retail Trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This was the largest monthly fall this year and follows a fall of 1.8 per cent in June 2021, after a rise of 0.4 per cent in May 2021.

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said: “Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in many parts of Australia continued to impact retail trade in July, with many non-essential retail businesses closing their physical stores. In particular, the first full month of lockdown in New South Wales, following the Delta outbreak in June, saw retail turnover in the state fall 8.9 per cent. This was the largest fall of any state and territory since August 2020."

Other states and territories under coronavirus restrictions for at least part of the month saw varying results with South Australia (-3.3 per cent) and Queensland (-0.9 per cent) experiencing falls. All other states and territories experienced rises with the strongest in Victoria (1.3 per cent).  Victorian turnover rose as some restrictions from the prior month were eased further in early July, however, sales remained subdued due to a twelve day lockdown from mid to late July.

By industry, the largest falls were in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-12.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-15.4 per cent), and department stores (-11.4 per cent). These industries were highly impacted by physical store closures. 

Food retailing (2.3 per cent) saw the largest rise as coronavirus restrictions kept households at home, limiting their mobility. Other retailing (0.6 per cent) also rose, in part due to additional online sales. 

This is the first release of the Retail Trade, Australia publication on the new release schedule following the discontinuation of Retail Trade, Australia Preliminary in June. Additional information on the July reference period will be released on 3 September 2021. Please see survey impacts and changes for further information.

More detailed industry and state analysis and further information on the statistical methodology is available in Retail Trade, Australia (cat no. 8501.0).

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.

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm AEST Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
Back to top of the page