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Positive signs for retail bounce back

Nationwide retail turnover increased by an average of 45.3% in May compared to April with retailers in all states reporting increased revenue, except for the ACT, according to recent data released by Vend, compiled from almost 14,000 independent Australian retailers.

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Western Australia was the standout state with revenue up 65.8% in May compared to April, followed by Victoria (58.6%), Tasmania (49.6%), Northern Territory (41.5%), South Australia and Queensland (39.7%), New South Wales (34.1%). The ACT was the only state to see a decline in revenue, which fell 6.6% in May.

However, revenue is a national average of 12.8% lower than it was in February, suggesting there is a long way to go to reach pre-COVID-19 levels.

Nonetheless, Vend managing director for Asia Pacific, Dave Scheine told Retailbiz the post-lockdown retail spring is finally dawning in almost every state.

“With customers returning to stores, high streets and markets, while retailers adapt quickly to provide the delightful in-store customer experiences that their customers have missed,” he said.

“With the combination of pent up demand for products and services and a strong tradition of shopping local in Australia, it’s unsurprising to see a strong uptick in sales in May compared to April.

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“Demand for non-essential businesses such as clothing stores has increased dramatically as consumers have been making the most of easing restrictions to purchase a new outfit for a dinner date or a return to the office. Art dealers, home centres and breweries also saw a significant lift in revenue in May, as consumers begin to gently return to their normal spending habits.

“However, the situation remains complex and there are still restrictions that may apply to retail businesses for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, as challenging as this pandemic has and will continue to be for both businesses and consumers economically, it’s inspiring to see how Australian retailers are utilising their retail smarts and tech savvys to embrace the dawn of the retail spring.”