Recession despite retail sales rising in July

There was a solid rise in retail sales in July, however the National Retail Association (NRA) has warned that the sector remains braced for an uncertain time ahead as Australia plunges into its first recession since 1991.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today released its retail sales report for July, revealing a nationwide rise in turnover of 3.2 per cent.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the final months of 2020 and the first economic quarter of 2021 will reveal just how much the sector will be impacted by the recession.

“The July figures are good, but they need to be put into proper context. The true extent of the economic fallout from this recession is yet to be felt, the next six months are going to be very difficult for all industries,” Ms Lamb said.

“We’re operating in highly volatile times and there’s myriad variables at play. JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments have lifted spending, but these are temporary measures that will end at some point, while some degree of restrictions will remain in place until a vaccine arrives.

“We still only have around 80 per cent of shopping centre stores trading and the drop in tourism dollars from international and domestic border closures are bound to have an impact.

“The period ahead remains a very uncertain one and retail remains on guard over how difficult the challenges ahead will be. In the meantime, we urge consumers to support their local retailers, while also complying with social distancing protocols.”