Retail sales surge post lockdowns

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released retail sales data for October, which rebounded by 4.9% after lockdowns ended across NSW, Victoria and the ACT:

According to Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics at the ABS, the 4.9 per cent increase was the strongest monthly rise since Victoria’s first lockdown bounce back in November 2020 with retail turnover rising to its highest level since June 2021, regaining most of the momentum lost prior to the COVID-19 Delta outbreak:

“Retail performance continues to be tied to state lockdowns as this month’s recovery was driven by the end of lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory,” Mr James said. “With lockdown ending on October 11, New South Wales sales rose 13.3 per cent returning to the levels seen in the months immediately prior to the Delta outbreak, while Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory remain below pre-Delta levels.”

“Although sales have bounced back strongly following the end of lockdowns, it is important to note that overall retail turnover has not yet reached the level of May 2021, the month prior to the Delta outbreak.”

The next chart shows that the rise was driven by discretionary spending – areas most subject to lockdowns:

As expected, the rebounds were strongest in the lockdown jurisdictions:

The rebound should extend through Christmas.

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