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Bushfires Blamed For Retail Downturn In January

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The horror bushfire season has been cited as a key reason for retail turnover falling by 0.3% across Australia in January 2020, following -0.7% growth in December.

This fall was even more significant in Western Australia (-1.1%) and the ACT (-2.3%). The only state that registered retail growth was South Australia, at 0.1%.

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade figures, there were contractions across the retail portfolio: household goods fell by -1.1%; department stores (-2.2%); clothing, footwear and personal accessories (-1.1%); cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.1%); and other retailing (-0.1%).

“Bushfires in January negatively impacted a range of retail business,” said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. “Retailers reported a range of impacts that reduced customer numbers, including interruptions to trading hours and tourism.”

E-commerce has continued to expand in the retail space, with online retail turnover accounting for 6.3% of the total number, compared to 5.6% a year earlier.

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