The ABS has released preliminary retail sales for December, which fell sharply from November and missed analysts’ expectations:
- The seasonally adjusted estimate fell 4.2% (-$1,329.9m) from November 2020 to December 2020.
- In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 9.4% in December 2020 compared with December 2019.
- Following the November rise, all industries except for Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services fell.
- Household goods retailing led the falls (-9%), following the Black Friday sales, and new product releases, that boosted turnover in November.
- Similarly, Other retailing, Department stores, and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, saw falls after reporting large rises in November.
- Food retailing fell 2%, with sales across the Food industry down in Victoria and New South Wales in line with restrictions on Christmas gatherings.
- Victoria led the falls by state, down 7% after a 22% rise in November. New South Wales saw a fall of 5%, with localised trading restrictions imposed in parts of Sydney impacting turnover.
- In seasonally adjusted current price terms, the preliminary estimate shows the December quarter rose 2.4%. This follows a rise of 7.0% in the September quarter. Quarterly volume estimates will be included in the final release on 5 February 2021.
Economists tipped only a 1.5% monthly decline in retail sales.