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Retail turnover rose by a solid 2.4 per cent in June according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) preliminary report released today.

However, National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb said the road to retail recovery following the COVID-19 wrecking ball remains long and fraught with hazards.

“Retail turnover in June experienced a solid rise in sales following the lifting of several business restrictions,” Ms Lamb said.

“It was the first full month that restaurants and clothing stores had been allowed to trade, with many being forced to close in April and May. We expected a pickup in sales for these businesses but turnover for this section of retail is still well below June 2019.”

Ms Lamb noted that retail remains in a volatile state and the reimposition of lockdowns in Victoria demonstrates that the sector is far from out of the woods.

“We can’t accurately assess how retail is travelling by looking at one month in isolation. In the last four months’ turnover has fluctuated wildly due to panic-buying, lockdown restrictions and economic uncertainty,” Ms Lamb said.

“The second-wave of COVID-19 infections in Victoria, along with the subsequent reimposition of restrictions, underlines that the future is far from certain.

“We welcomed the extension of the JobKeeper program announced yesterday, although we would have preferred to see it extended on an industry basis.

“Only 1 per cent of retailers are looking to employ more people at present. The extension of JobKeeper until March will hopefully result in a boost to business confidence, but many employers will continue to tread carefully.”