SYDNEY: Australia’s retail turnover rose by 0.5 percent in February 2020, but online sales hit 6.6pc, according new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures. This followed a fall of 0.3pc in January, and a decline of 0.6pc in December 2019.

“Retailers reported a range of impacts from COVID-19 in February, with increases in food retailing slightly offset by falls in more discretionary spending,” said Ben James, ABS’s director of quarterly economy-wide surveys.

Department stores recorded growth of 3.1pc in February, while food retailing was up 0.8pc and household goods by 0.7pc. However, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell by 2.9pc.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.6pc to the sector’s total turnover in February, up from a contribution of 5.6pc in the same month of 2019.

Given the fast-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions, the ABS has said that it will be temporarily suspending trend estimates for the sector. – ChannelNews