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Black Friday drives 5.8 per cent retail-wide sales bump in November

Retail spending rose 5.8 per cent in November compared to the same period of 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday, while online spend, driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, rose 22.8 per cent.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories led the way in sales during the month as Australians increasingly want to return to living life outside of their homes.

“Further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the South-Eastern states and territories has seen the retail industry recover all lost momentum caused by the Delta outbreak,” said ABS Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics Ben James.

“Victoria recorded the largest state rise, up 20 per cent, reaching it’s highest level of the series [following] the states lockdown ending in October.”

Australian Retailers’ Association chief executive Paul Zahra said retailers had overall enjoyed a strong November, driven by a record-breaking Black Friday period and rising consumer confidence heading into Christmas. This is, obviously, quite different to what the industry is facing currently.

“We’ve entered a new territory in the pandemic with Omicron decimating workforces and impacting supplies and deliveries of essential goods,” Zahra said.

“Whilst retailers had an upbeat trading period in the lead up to Christmas, post-Christmas sales are unlikely to be as strong as we anticipated given the rising number of cases and flow-on effects to businesses and consumer confidence.”

One thing that has remained consistent, however, according to eStore Logistics’ Leigh Williams, is the continuing popularity of online shopping.

“Trends constantly waver as we navigate the pandemic and the uncertainties that come with it, one thing that remains constant is the continued preference for online retail, from both shoppers and merchants,” said Williams.

“E-commerce has kept businesses alive throughout 2020 and 2021, with a huge number of merchants making the transition to a fully functioning ecommerce model. The leaps that e-commerce has made over the last two years have ensured that online retail will remain an enormous part of the economy, even in a post-pandemic world.”

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