Retailers have felt the brunt of Australia’s summer of disaster, with sales figures taking a major hit in January (2020) due to the devastating bushfires, the National Retail Association said.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail turnover fell 0.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a fall of 0.7 per cent in December (2019).
The figures revealed falls across the following industries – household goods retailing (-1.1 per cent), department stores (-2.2 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.1 per cent), cafes restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.3 per cent), and other retailing (-0.1 per cent).
However, food retailing did rise by 0.4 per cent.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the January (2020) figures were not a good start for 2020 but are expected.
“These figures reveal just how disrupting the catastrophic bushfires were to the retail industry,” Ms Lamb said.
“This natural disaster the sector has been confronted with, particularly for regional areas, have really put the sector on a course for recovery.”
Ms Lamb said retail isn’t out of the woods quite yet, despite the majority of Australia’s bushfires being put out.
“The coronavirus outbreak over the past month will definitely have a negative impact on our retail industry, and the full impact of this will likely be felt in February’s (2020) results,” Ms Lamb said.