Retail turnover falls

The economic tsunami caused by COVID-19 has seen retail sales dive by a record figure for a single month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS has revealed that retail turnover for April 2020 plummeted by a staggering 17.7 per cent, a slightly revised figure from the 17.9 per cent recorded in the preliminary April report released two weeks ago.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that the ABS April report reveals the torrid time being experienced by the nation’s retailers.

“April was the first month to encompass the full suite of lockdown restrictions, so the sector was bracing itself for a giant drop in retail turnover,” Ms Lamb said.

“The March figures were propped up almost entirely by the large-scale panic buying taking place in supermarkets. It was feared that April would see the retail rollercoaster make a downward spiral and that is exactly what has happened.

“Across retail categories there were big drops in sales for April and each state and territory went backwards on monthly turnover. There was a rise in online spending due to a natural increased demand for digital purchases, but it was a drop in the ocean compared to the nosedive taken overall.”

The ABS April retail report comes just one day after Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that Australian is now in its first recession since 1991.

“These figures emphasise the Treasurer’s announcement that we are in our first recession in 30 years. They also reiterate the need for retailers to continue to receive support from all governments to minimise the impact and save jobs.

“If there is one silver lining, we anticipate that given the economy is gradually reopening that April will be the worst month for retail. There is still a long way to go though and we urge Australians to support their local retailers wherever they can.”