April's retail trade figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show the strongest seasonally adjusted fall ever published.
Retail turnover fell by 17.9 per cent in April 2020, and follows the strongest ever seasonally adjusted rise in March 2020 which was largely the result of stockpiling.
Not a single retail sector was spared, with particularly strong falls recorded in food retailing, cafes, restaurants, clothing, footwear and personal accessories.
The figures are the direct result of COVID-19 restrictions implemented nationally in a bid to slow the spread of infections of the coronavirus.
While March saw a mix of impacts related to COVID-19 across industries, these impacts were overwhelmingly negative in April, as regulations regarding social distancing measures limited the ability of businesses to trade as normal for the entire month," says the ABS.
"Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and department stores fell heavily in April and there were no offsetting rises in the other industries.
"Turnover in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and cafes, restaurants and takeaways is around half the level of April 2019."
The food retailing sector, which saw a significant rise in March due to "unprecedented" demand, fell 17.1 per cent in April.
In seasonally adjusted terms Australian retail turnover fell 9.4 per cent in April 2020 compared with April 2019.
Analysis of supermarket and grocery store scanner data shows that monthly retail turnover fell in original terms for non-perishable goods, perishable goods and all other products by 23.7 per cent, 15.3 per cent and 24.5 per cent respectively in April 2020 compared to March 2020.
These falls follow significant unprecedented demand in March 2020 where non-perishable goods rose 39 per cent, perishable goods rose 21.6 per cent and all other products rose 30.5 per cent.
Turnover in clothing, footwear and personal accessories in April 2020 was around half the level of April 2019.
Updated at 2:47PM AEST on 20 May 2020.
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