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Spiking e-commerce sales could lead to supply constraints: NAB

Online sales accelerated 8.8 per cent in August compared to a month prior, according to the latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index, and 25.6 per cent compared to a year prior.

In the 12 months to August, it’s estimated Australians spent over $50 billion online – a figure which is almost 30 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Growth was largely seen in the department store and liquor categories, which each accelerated and grew at more than twice the rate of the overall index.

“[This result] indicates considerable strength in the index, given that the base of August 2020 had already growth over 65 per cent on August 2019,” NAB chief economist Alan Oster said.

“[However] there are reports that, with a combination of increased volumes and staff in isolation in distribution centres and delivery services, significant delays are emerging.”

According to Oster these delays could lead to slower sales growth in the near term, and that Christmas sales may be brought forward as supply constraints continue to emerge and shoppers take the situation into consideration.

The index comes as, last week, the ABS revealed tumbling national retail sales through the same month, with the total industry down 1.7 per cent compared to a month prior, and 0.7 per cent on the same time last year.

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