Retail turnover nationwide fell by 1.1 per cent compared to January’s figures, partly due to both Victoria and Western Australia implementing hard lockdowns during the month.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the February fall demonstrates that the high consumer spending levels are starting to drop and that no one can be complacent about the economic period ahead.
“The preliminary retail figures for February reveal a clear drop in nationwide sales for the month. This underlines the point that the sector and the economy more broadly are still in for a challenging period ahead,” Ms Lamb said.
“Both JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Supplement are due to expire in less than two weeks and this will likely see a further decline in discretionary spending.
“The hard lockdowns in Western Australia and Victoria also no doubt played a part in the February fall, even brief economic shutdowns can have a substantial impact on sales.
“Retailers across the country remain braced for a challenging period ahead and we are still a long way from being out of the woods. The NRA will continue to engage governments at all levels on the need to carefully monitor the performance of Australia’s second-largest workforce.
“Meanwhile, we urge consumers to continue supporting their local retailers and not be afraid to spend cash that otherwise would have been going on things such as overseas holidays or other discretionary purchases still unavailable.”