The Australian economy has recovered strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), national retail sales were up 1.1 per cent for the month of April, following a 1.8 per cent rise over the March quarter.
A 25.1 per cent gain year-on-year confirms the latest Retail Research and Forecast Report from Colliers International, the global professional services and investment management company.
Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retail Association, underlined the critical importance of the retail sector in the national bounce back. “Retail sales boomed nationwide, with the Australian economy now bigger than it was before the bushfires and the Covid double-whammy. April was the first month of the expiration of JobKeeper and the Coronavirus supplement, so the strong consumer spending levels are cause for optimism.”
Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, noted that retail sales are well up on pre-pandemic levels. “When comparing April 2021 to April 2019, spending on food retailing is up 10 per cent, household goods is up 24 per cent, clothing footwear and personal accessories is up 18.8 per cent, restaurants and takeaways are up 6.1 per cent and department stores are up 7.6 per cent.”
Zahra also pointed out that the buoyant retail figures have been fuelled by the fact that people have not been able to travel overseas.
Michael Bate, Head of Retail for Colliers International, elaborated further. “Overseas travel is unlikely to resume until 2022, meaning a potential $60 billion which is normally spent by Australians on overseas travel every year is likely to be spent domestically.
“Over the past year, the Australian retail sector has been buoyed by the effective management of the pandemic and a beneficiary of the largest stimulus package in Australian history. Households are spending their savings accumulated during the Covid-19 period and retail trade is increasing,” he added.