November has been a busy month for Australian retailers, with national sales up 6.5 per cent compared to the same time last year, and 16.6 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Data from Mastercard SpendingPulse shows that clothing sales saw the biggest boom, increasing by 18.9 per cent year-on-year and 27.5 per cent compared to October.
In the lead up to Christmas shoppers are also buying plenty of household goods, with sales increasing by 15 per cent compared to November 2020. Although department store sales grew by 12 per cent in a month, it is still down 4 per cent compared to the same time last year.
ACT recorded the highest year-on-year sales boost at 38.5 per cent, followed by Victoria at 10.3 per cent and Western Australia at 6.7 per cent.
Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said businesses have strong momentum with Christmas just five days away.
“Retail sales are continuing to accelerate in the run up to Christmas, and that’s music to the ears of many retailers particularly small businesses who are looking to make up for the substantial trading losses they incurred during the Delta lockdowns,” Zahra said.
“The pent-up demand for shopping is set to continue in the post-Christmas sales as well with a record $21 billion to be spent in the three weeks from Boxing Day. Most of the borders are coming down, with the states and territories remaining committed to their reopening plans, so businesses have certainty which drives confidence and is critical at this time of year.
“Despite the upbeat trading conditions, the two significant issues retailers are dealing with right now are supply chain disruptions and staff shortages. Supply chains have been an issue for a while now, with domestic and global factors creating a perfect storm for retailers and consumers. Whilst we’re now seeing the gradual return of international students and skilled migrants, staffing will remain a challenge with many businesses unable to trade at their full potential.”
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