Retail Worker

Australian retail recorded a steady rise in sales for the month of May according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

According to the ABS, sales rose by 0.4 per cent for the month and by 7.7 per cent compared to May 2020.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the figures were good but the recent spate of lockdowns showed retail continues to face a volatile period.

“The May results are very good for retail, with a strong increase on the April results which is also promising when you consider the month is generally a quiet one for the sector,” Ms Lamb said.

“It shows that when the economy is relatively open that business is going well, but as the recent spate of state lockdowns has shown there remains uncertainty.

“Retailers understand the need to keep the public safe but even short lockdowns can have a massive effect on the economy. While the May ABS figures are very good, we’re likely to see less promising results in June and July.”

Ms Lamb said that retailers were pleased to see National Cabinet last week announce a strategy to transition out of the pandemic, including an end to lockdowns.

“Retailers were pleased to see National Cabinet turn its attention to transitioning out of the pandemic and bringing an end to costly lockdowns,”

“While a vaccination threshold that would see lockdowns become a thing of the past is yet to be announced, we do hope the details will be released shortly. A silver lining in the recent round of lockdowns has been a sense of urgency amongst all Australians to get the jab.

“Businesses of all shapes and sizes require certainty more than anything else. The sooner we get to a more predictable business environment the better placed the country will be to safeguard jobs.”