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Retail sales slow over AFL Grand Final weekend

Retail sales in Melbourne dropped 33 per cent last weekend, compared to an average weekend for retailers, while sales on Friday, September 28, were 18 per cent lower than usual, according to data from retail software company Vend.

The data confirms what industry groups have long asserted, that the AFL Grand Final on Saturday and associated public holiday on Friday in Victoria are bad for business.

“Melbourne has a world-renowned retail scene and our independent retailers are vital to the culture and community of our high streets,” Vend’s APAC country manager Dave Scheine.

“Weekends like this with big drops in sales are often common-place for local retailers and can hit them really hard.”

Sports retailers were the only retailers to see an increase in sales on the public holiday, with sales increasing by 25 per cent, while fashion and apparel retailers saw the largest drop at 61 per cent.

Specialty food and drink stores saw a 26 per cent decrease, while homewares and gifts saw sales fall by 15 per cent.

“While it’s clear that retailers struggled this weekend, our data did show a silver lining in that there was a significant increase in retail sales on the Thursday before the long weekend,” Scheine said.

“Retail sales on Thursday were 20 per cent higher than normal, and were actually at the same level as a usual Friday which is very uncommon.”

Scheine adds that this suggests shoppers were preparing for the long weekend by purchasing more on the Thursday, in order to best enjoy their long weekend.

“Any little lift in spending like that can be a game-changer for our smaller stores.”

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