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Retail spending in June expected to fall: ABS

Preliminary industry-wide sales fell 1.8 per cent in June compared to a month prior according to the latest retail figures released by the ABS on Wednesday, as the impact of a renewed Covid-19 outbreak stifled trade.

Victoria led the falls at 3.5 per cent, with its fourth lockdown largely falling within June, while New South Wales saw a 2 per cent fall and Queensland 1.5 per cent.

“Other states and territories saw interrupted trade due to mini-lockdowns, as well as reduced mobility between states with the tightening of border restrictions,” said ABS director of quarterly economy wide surveys Ben James.

In total, the ABS estimates Australian retail consumers spent $30.5 billion in June – less than May, but 2.9 per cent more than a year prior.

Despite the fact customers are estimated to have spent more in June 2021 compared to June 2020, spending intention was down, according to Commonwealth Bank chief economist Stephen Halmarick.

Halmarick said the bank saw decreased retail spending intentions during June compared to a year prior, though this wasn’t surprising as it corresponded to a large-scale release from trading restrictions in 2020.

“[It] reflects the pick-up in spending as the country came out of the initial lockdown last year,” Halmarick said.

Customers are continuing to spend big on health, fitness, and sports, Halmarick said, though, “this has changed again in July with the lockdowns in Greater Sydney and Melbourne.”

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