Season Greeting Streets

Strong year-on-year growth for Australian retail in December has confirmed reports from businesses on the ground that sales before and after Christmas defied COVID close downs in some states.

In its preliminary data for December, released today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported growth of 9.4 per cent for the month, compared with the previous December.

While the seasonally adjusted figures were down compared with the previous month, this is simply a result of the extraordinary spending levels in November as state economies opened up again.

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said the association would wait until the official figures were released next month before finalising Christmas and Boxing Day spending totals.

“What we know for sure is that the summer retail season, which now includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November, has been as strong as we have seen for many years,” Ms Lamb said.

“This is partly due to the sudden reopening of state economies, particularly Victoria, during November, and partly due to the fact that Australians have more discretionary income because they aren’t able to travel widely at the moment.

“But we also know there is a rapidly rising trend of people doing their bargain hunting in November and bringing forward that Christmas gift spending, but then having a round of ‘leftovers’ on Boxing Day.”

The NRA will release its final outcome for Christmas once the ABS data is finalised in February.