Retail sales fell 2.7% in July

27 August 2021

Australian retail turnover fell 2.7 per cent in July 2021, seasonally adjusted, according to the Retail Trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

This was the largest monthly fall this year and follows a fall of 1.8 per cent in June 2021, after a rise of 0.4 per cent in May 2021.

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, said: “Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in many parts of Australia continued to impact retail trade in July, with many non-essential retail businesses closing their physical stores. In particular, the first full month of lockdown in New South Wales, following the Delta outbreak in June, saw retail turnover in the state fall 8.9 per cent. This was the largest fall of any state and territory since August 2020.”

Other states and territories under coronavirus restrictions for at least part of the month saw varying results with South Australia (-3.3 per cent) and Queensland (-0.9 per cent) experiencing falls.

All other states and territories experienced rises with the strongest in Victoria (1.3 per cent).  Victorian turnover rose as some restrictions from the prior month were eased further in early July, however, sales remained subdued due to a twelve day lockdown from mid to late July.

By industry, the largest falls were in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-12.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-15.4 per cent), and department stores (-11.4 per cent). These industries were highly impacted by physical store closures. 

Food retailing (2.3 per cent) saw the largest rise as coronavirus restrictions kept households at home, limiting their mobility. Other retailing (0.6 per cent) also rose, in part due to additional online sales.