Australian retail sales have recorded their sixth straight month of positive year-on-year growth, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, with total retail sales up 6.9% in March compared to the same time last year.
With a marginal 0.6% fall in sales compared to February, sales remain “robust” on the year-on-year comparison.
Household goods continue to be the strongest performer out of the retail categories. Sales were up 17.2% in March compared to the same month last year.
This was followed by food (up 5.2%) and clothing (up 4.5%). Department store sales, however, were down 6% in March compared to a year ago.
All states and territories recorded positive year-on-year sales growth. Queensland lead the way (up 9.2%), followed by Victoria (up 8.7%) and NSW (up 7.1%).
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra says while business conditions continue to be challenged by inflationary pressures, consumer spending levels remain healthy overall.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, consumer spending remains upbeat, and pleasingly, we’ve now recorded six consecutive months of positive year-on-year sales growth,” he says.
“However, not all sectors of retail are thriving, and we continue to be concerned for travel retailers and CBD retailers, in particular small businesses, with our capital cities still a far cry of their former selves. We’ve seen people start to return to city offices, but there’s still a long way to go to get our CBDs back to the buzzing commercial precincts they once were.
“With close contact isolation requirements to be scrapped in NSW and Victoria, along with a relaxation of mask rules, retail businesses can look forward to maximising their trade while operating mostly free of Covid rules and restrictions.”