05/02/2021 - 13:00

Sale bells ringing in December data

05/02/2021 - 13:00

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Retail sales were 14 per cent higher in WA in December than the same month in 2019, although they softened by 2 per cent compared to November.

Sale bells ringing in December data
December retailing data was stronger than in 2019. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Retail sales were 14 per cent higher in Western Australia in December than the same month in 2019, although they softened by 2 per cent compared to November.

Western Australians spent almost $3.4 billion during the period, seasonally adjusted, according to Australia Bureau of Statistics data.

The cafes, restaurants and takeaway food subindustry sold $535 million during the month, again seasonally adjusted, a very slight decline from November but about $30 million higher than December in the year prior.

Those businesses had sales of $5.8 billion in WA in 2020, a record (unadjusted for inflation).

National, retail sales fell 4.1 per cent month of month, but again were higher than in December 2019, up 9.6 per cent at $30.4 billion.

“As 2020 progressed, it also became obvious that the Australian economy, including retail spending, was more resilient than expected by policymakers and the economists’ fraternity,” St George chief economist Besa Deda said.

“Retail sales in value [or nominal terms] grew by 9.6 per cent year on year, well above the long-run average of 3.7 per cent and well above the annual rate of 2.6 per cent where it was in December 2019.

“In December, retail sales fell 4.1 per cent, but Australians simply ran out of puff, after hitting the malls with gusto in November to take advantage of ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ sales.

“Online spending fell 2.3 per cent in December and on a year ago is 53.8 per cent higher. 

“During the height of the pandemic, online spending grew at nearly 86 per cent per annum.”

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