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Australian preliminary retail sales drop sharply in April, longer-term trend likely to be weak
Australia’s April preliminary retail sales estimate show the biggest month fall on record, eroding March’s record growth. The preliminary results show that retail sales fell 17.9 percent sequentially in April and dropped 9.4 percent year-on-year.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, fashion and dining sales dropped 50 percent year-on-year, consistent with ANZ-observed spending, which showed dining/takeaway hovering around the -50 percent year-on-year mark during much of April.
Most of the products that rose significantly in March saw falls in April 2020, underlined ABS. ANZ-observed spending implied that the peak stockpiling of groceries took place in mid-to late March, while the lowest retail results occurred in mid-April.
ANZ-observed spending shows solid discretionary spending in early May, suggesting pent-up demand and the excitement of shops reopening. A second, smaller iteration of this is likely as Victorian shops reopen.
“Our expectation is that spending will spike each time lockdown restrictions ease, but the longer term trend of retail spending is likely to be weak, reflecting reduced incomes and financial instability for many households”, stated ANZ.