Record retail sales of $33.9 billion in April | Blue Mountains Gazette
Australians spent a record $33.9 billion in shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and online marketplaces last month, with spending on food being the biggest increase.
April’s 0.9% jump in retail spending is the fourth consecutive monthly increase in retail turnover this year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Spending at supermarkets and other food retailers rose 1.9%, while turnover at cafes, restaurants and takeaway outlets rose 3.3%, to 19% above pre-pandemic levels.
Part of the reason for the jump was simply price inflation, but Australians also spent more time ‘travelling, dining out and having family gatherings’ during the April holiday period, according to the director of ABS quarterly statistics on the whole economy, Ben James.
“The Australian consumer remains in a good voice,” said Craig James, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank.
“People are going out and moving again, especially in cafes and restaurants.”
The month-over-month rise is not as large as the 1.6-1.8% increases seen from January-March, and slightly below consensus expectations, but it is up 9, 6% compared to April 2021.
Spending on household goods fell 2.7% and department store revenue fell 2.5% from March, but was still up 7.4% and 5.4% from it a year ago.
“April was another phenomenal result for retailers overall, with trade boosted by the long Easter weekend when many people went on holiday – the first real break people have had since the start of the pandemic, which has coincided with a relaxation of national border controls and COVID restrictions on businesses,” Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said.
All states and territories except NSW saw an increase in trade in April compared to March, with turnover rising the most in Queensland, by 1.6%, as restrictions on public health have eased.
“Going forward, high savings and record unemployment should ensure that household consumption remains robust,” JP Morgan Australia economist Jack Stinson said in a research note.
Consumers will face additional pressure from rising interest rates in the coming months after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised the key spot rate in early May, signaling further hikes during the year coming.
Australian Associated Press