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February Retail Sales Beat Expectations

Aussie shoppers have returned to retail, with a better than expected 1.8 per cent sales leap for February.

This is according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics, Ben James says this marks the second-largest monthly leap on record, following November’s 7.1 per cent rise, following a lifting of lockdown restrictions.

February’s 1.8 per cent leap thwarted market expectations of a more modest 0.9 per cent rise.

“Lower COVID-19 case numbers in February, alongside the further easing of restrictions over the month, saw consumer spending return to similar behaviour seen previously as states and territories come out of a COVID-19 wave,” James said

“Most discretionary spending industries experienced strong rises once again as consumer cautiousness lessened, leading to an increase in mobility and improved business conditions. On the other hand, non-discretionary industries, such as Food retailing, saw their turnover contract this month.”

Department store spending was up 11.1 per cent, with household goods up 2.3 per cent.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaways jumped 9.7 per cent, as staff shortages were remedied, and normal trading conditions resumed.

Most states and territories saw a rise in retail sales this month, with NSW up 3.9 per cent, Victoria up 1.7 per cent, and Queensland up 1.5 per cent.


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