Australian Retail Sales Reach Record Highs

Australian retail sales rose to a record high in 4Q21, boosted by the easing of COVID-19 curbs and overall shopping during the year-end holidays, providing strong support to retailers.

ABS revealed that quarterly retail sales 4/21 soared 8.2%, recovering from the fall in 3Q21, a time when two of Australia’s largest states were under lockdown orders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics stated, “Consumers enthusiastically returned to discretionary spending following the end of Delta related lockdowns in October, and the continued easing of restrictions over the quarter. Well publicised concerns over product availability and delivery timeliness led to consumers bringing forward their end of year shopping, in conjunction with a re-opening spending splurge due to pent up consumer demand. This post lockdown recovery aligns well with the previous nationwide Covid lockdown recovery in the September quarter 2020 where sales rose 6.3%, more than recovering the losses of the June 2020 quarter fall of 3.5%”

The jump in retail sales shows government confidence that the Australian economy has rebounded strongly from the third-quarter contraction, with rising household spending one of the reasons analysts forecast the Reserve Bank of Australia will raise interest rates in the second half of this year.

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