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ABS data reveals strong retail sales growth in February

(Source: Bigstock)

Retail sales continued to perform well in February recording a 9.1 per cent year-on-year increase according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today. 

Despite supply chain disruptions, departments stores recorded a 5 per cent increase after months of decline. 

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories recorded a 17.8-per-cent increase compared to February last year, followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food which grew 15 per cent and household goods, up by 8.1 per cent. Food retailing rose by 4.3 per cent.

Australian Retail Association CEO Paul Zahra said the data showed retail trade remains on a strong trajectory despite ongoing volatility in the economy.

“Business costs are increasing, there are inflationary pressures and staff shortages, while supply chain delays and costs are continuing to bite. Business disruption is very much an ongoing concern with the Ukraine conflict abroad creating a ripple of cost pressures for retailers and customers and at-home flooding has displaced thousands of Australians and impacted many businesses,” he said.

Zahra expects the Easter long weekend to bring positive changes since people will be travelling free of the Covid restrictions that applied for the past two years.

 KPMG senior economist, Sarah Hunter said the overall retail sales momentum remains positive.

“The easy wins from re-opening will be exhausted, and cost of living pressures will start to bite. [But] the budget is set to provide some relief, households still have ample excess savings to draw on and wages growth is slowly but surely picking up.”

On a state basis, Victoria led the way with 13.1 per cent growth, followed by Western Australia at 10.5 per cent and NSW at 8.5 per cent.

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