Australia Retail Sales Jump 7%, Driven by Victoria, Black Friday

Australian household spending surged in November as the southeastern state of Victoria was released from lockdown and consumers took advantage of discounts during annual Black Friday sales.

Preliminary retail sales advanced by 7% from the prior month, compared with the 2% gain expected in a survey of economists, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday in Sydney.

“Victoria saw a large rise, up 21%, as retail stores experienced a full month of trade following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in that state,” said Ben James, director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys at the ABS., said in a statement. “Excluding Victoria, retail sales rose 2.7%.”

Australia Retail Sales Jump 7%, Driven by Victoria, Black Friday

Australia’s economy has been recovering rapidly since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Victoria and its state capital, Melbourne, with consumer confidence and hiring surging on the improved health position. Yet, the data precede a recent outbreak in north Sydney.

By industry, household goods retailing -- up 13% -- led the gains, as Black Friday sales and major product releases in the electrical subgroup led to a spike in turnover across the country, the ABS said.

“The rise of these sale periods has continued to bring forward the typical Christmas shopping period from December into November,” said Ben Udy, Australia economist at Capital Economics, who expects sales to ease going forward. “This effect may have been especially notable this year given the switch toward online shopping already made in earlier months.”

Figures provided by eStore Logistics, which describes itself as Australia’s largest e-commerce focused fulfillment provider, showed online sales were up 46% in November from a year earlier. Home and renovations retailers, food, beverages and alcohol outlets and department stores were the top performers, it said.

“You only have to look at the consistent year-on-year order growth in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, which have been out of lockdown since August, to see that shoppers aren’t going to stop buying things online,” said Leigh Williams, managing director, eStore Logistics.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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