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Positive signs for Tas retail


Tasmania's retail operators are starting the year with irrefutable evidence shoppers have returned to spending in a solid way.

New ABS data on retail turnover for November finds the state had one of the highest monthly increases in Australia.

It was a 3.4 per cent rise in trade, seasonally adjusted.

The state's Small Business Council has welcomed the news, also predicting December was a better-than-expected month.

"Business kept on being busy right through December and New Years Eve. That's really pleasing because I think that sector was very worried in and around that March-April period. I think many of them wondered if they'd actually survive. A lot of them have survived and they're doing reasonably well," CEO Robert Mallett said.    

Mr Mallett says Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of the month continued the trend. 

"Anedoctal evidence from retailers throughout the city as well as personal observations was that most of the CBDs were really pumping and it was fantastic to see. A little prediction: I think December will be equally as good." 

Across the country, retail sales increased 13.3 per cent last November, compared to the same time in 2019.

“November was an incredible month, with $31.7 billion worth of retail trade across the country – and that’s provided a much-needed shot in the arm for Australian retailers after what was a very challenging year,” Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said.

“Online has continued to be a powerhouse of activity, providing some offset against restrictions and Covid safety concerns. Australia Post reported December as its biggest month in history, with more than 52 million parcels delivered – an almost 20 per cent increase on the previous year. Total online sales in Australia have hit 11 per cent compared to 7.2 per cent the same time last year.

“We’re cautiously optimistic for retail in 2021, however there are concerns with JobKeeper and JobSeeker ending at the end of March. These two schemes have been key to stimulating the economy, and we know there are pockets of retail still struggling – in particular those who’ve been in areas affected by lockdowns in recent months,” Mr Zahra said.

 Image: Pixabay