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October retail sales 7.3 per cent up on last year

Sales in Australian retail continued recovering in October, landing at 1.6 per cent above September’s figures and 7.3 per cent above a year prior, according to the latest ABS data.

Growth in Victoria led the way at 5.2 per cent for the month, though the state itself remains 5.7 per cent below 2019 levels.

“Victorian retailers reopening at the end of the month has helped to provide a boost in overall turnover for the month of October,” NRA deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said.

“Retail sales for October are well up on the corresponding month last year but we are still operating in challenging times and there’s no room for complacency.”

However, with retail now firmly in the holiday trading period, Carroll stressed the importance of strong sales for the months ahead – something that will undoubtedly be impacted by South Australia’s recent spike in cases.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra expects South Australia’s lockdown will be brief, but that it couldn’t have come at a worse time for retailers, which make up around two-thirds of annual revenue during the summer trading period.

“We remain of the view that lockdowns are a measure of last resort, as identified by the World Health Organization, and are keen to see a consistent hotspot approach, similar to that successfully implemented in NSW, adopted nationally to help support business and consumer certainty,” Zahra said.

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