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Retail sales surged nearly 10 per cent in April

Year-on-year retail sales growth hit 9.6 per cent in April year-on-year according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Sales reached an estimated $33.9 billion in-store and online combined during the month, with the cafes, restaurants, and takeaway services, along with clothing and footwear sharing a 14.7 per cent increase, and the ‘other retailing’ sector 14.4 per cent. Household goods amassed a 7.4 per cent increase while food retailing registered a 6.5 per cent increase. Department-store sales recorded the slowest rise, of 5.4 per cent.

The easing of public health restrictions and removal of density limits in stores and malls boosted trade in Queensland and gave rise to a 11.8 per cent increase in retail turnover.

On a state basis, Western Australia recorded a 10.2 per cent increase, Victoria 9.9 per cent and South Australia and NSW 8.6 per cent.

Australian Retail Association CEO Paul Zahra described the month as ‘phenomenal’ for retailers overall.

“With trade boosted by the Easter long weekend, many people got away for holidays, which coincided with a relaxing of domestic border controls and Covid restrictions on businesses,” he said.

“However, we know that the record retail sales result can also be attributed to the higher prices we’re seeing across the economy – particularly in the food industries. While sales are increasing, so too are business costs, while staff shortages remain an ongoing concern.”

Ben James, director of quarterly economy wide statistics at the ABS, said strength in retail turnover is being driven by spending across the food sectors.

“High food prices have combined with increased household spending over the April holiday period as more people are travelling, dining out and holding family gatherings.”

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