Industry News Research

July retail sales slow as lockdown impacts take hold

Lockdowns in multiple states in July have impacted retail sales. The latest release (July 2021) of the monthly ABS Retail Trade data indicates that the overall month-on-month (m-o-m) estimate* decreased by 2.7%, down from -1.8% in June 2021.

Retail Turnover decreased by 3.1% year-on-year (y-o-y), down from 2.9% in the prior corresponding period (pcp), with the impact of current recent lockdowns affecting short-term turnover growth and record spending throughout 2020 affecting longer-term comparisons.

Greater Sydney and surrounding areas were subject to stay-at-home orders in July, with Victoria, South Australia, parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory also going in and out of lockdown over the course of the month.

Simon Hemphill, Head of Research, Shopping Centre Council of Australia said: “A combination of lockdowns and Government imposed restrictions on non-essential retail across various jurisdictions, combined with record retail spending in 2020, has resulted in a drop in retail spending for July 2021. However, current spending remains significantly above pre-pandemic levels across all jurisdictions.”

The following table summarises the key data in seasonally adjusted terms across the six ABS retail categories. The strongest growth was recorded for ‘Food’ retailing on a m-o-m basis (2.3%). ‘Other’ retailing recorded the strongest growth on a y-o-y basis (2.4%). In seasonally adjusted terms, Retail Turnover decreased by 2.7% in the month of July. On a y-o-y basis, Retail Turnover increased by 3.1%.

Pre-pandemic analysis
Comparison of retail spending will be affected throughout 2021 given two main factors.

Firstly, ongoing lockdowns and Government restrictions for ‘non-essential’ retail in certain jurisdictions (including during post-lockdown periods) will negatively impact short-term comparisons, especially for month-on-month or quarter-on-quarter periods.

Secondly, record spending during 2020, due to the bounce back of consumer activity, has an impact on longer-term analysis (year-on-year).

Given these factors, it is worth making a comparison of Retail Trade to the pre-pandemic period of 2019. Interestingly, all jurisdictions (including those currently in lockdown) show positive growth versus the corresponding pre-pandemic period.

*The ABS has temporarily suspended the publication trend data due to volatility.

About the author

Shopping Centre News

Shopping Centre News (SCN) is in the ‘information business’, and is perceived as such by its readers. Daily industry news makes a must-visit as part of the morning routine for those who want to keep right across the latest retail developments and events, while SCN's premium magazine is the leading publication for the shopping centre industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Known as the ‘industry bible’ SCN is printed five times a year with fascinating, in-depth features and important critical analysis written by known industry insiders as well as the popular ‘Guns’ reports, which ranks Australian shopping centre performances. Shopping Centre News is the only publication in the world that features centre statistics on Turnover, Turnover per square metre and Specialty Shop turnover per square metre for every major centre in Australia.

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