Australian retail sales up by 1.4% in March


  • Retail sales grew by 1.4% in the March quarter.
  • Growth in March quarter is slower than growth in December quarter
  • Victoria, WA are leading the surge.

The retail sales in Australia increased by 1.4% in the March quarter, according to the latest data released by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Wednesday.

The sequential growth of 1.4% has been seasonally adjusted by the ABS.

On a year-on-year basis, the retail sales improved by 2.3%, when compared with March 2020, ABS said.

However, the quarterly rise in the retail sales has been moderating in the past two quarters. In the December quarter, retail sales increased by 2.5%, while for September 2020 quarter, the number stood at 6.5%, as per the ABS figures.

The increase in retail sales has been on the back of economic recovery that the country has been witnessing after pandemic lockdowns triggered a 1% contraction in its economy during 2020.

According to Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, Victoria and Western Australia led the surge in the retail sales.

In fact, Melbourne, the provincial capital of Victoria, witnessed a record rise in the housing prices, driven by increased demand, according to Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

“Queensland saw a small fall, with Greater Brisbane impacted by lockdown restrictions from 29 March," Mr James said in a statement.

On the sectoral front, the growth in retail sales was led by cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services – the sectors which saw retail sales surging by 6%. On the other hand, the food retailing witnessed a dip of 1% during the quarter.

Meanwhile, the top three ASX-listed retail companies in terms of market capitalisation, were trading in red at the time of filing this copy -- Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) was down 65 basis points (bps), Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) was down 44 bps and JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) was down 21 bps.

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