Nationwide retail sales surged in the first month following the expiry of JobKeeper, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The April 2021 retail preliminary report from the ABS revealed turnover rose by a substantial 1.1 per cent for the month.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said it was promising news for an industry that had been very reliant on the JobKeeper stimulus during the first 12 months of the pandemic.
“The end of JobKeeper did have many retailers concerned, but the early signs are that the Australian economy continues to charter a strong recovery,” Ms Lamb said.
“It’s only one month and there remains a degree of uncertainty, but these April results indicate that consumers continued to spend despite the expiration of JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Supplement,” Ms Lamb said.
“Autumn is traditionally a quiet period for retail, so the fact that sales have continued to tick along bodes well for the sector.”
The April preliminary report follows the Labour Force report, also compiled by the ABS, that revealed unemployment dropped slightly for the month.
“Retail is Australia’s second-largest workforce, employs more young people than any other industry, and a majority of workers are female. A loss of retail jobs would not only be bad news for those directly affected but would be dire for the Australian economy more broadly,” Ms Lamb said.
“The Australian economy has strong momentum at present following the COVID-recession. To further fuel the recovery we urge shoppers to keep supporting local retailers, governments to closely monitor economic indicators, and encourage those eligible to get vaccinated.”