Australia: Coronavirus panic boosts consumer spending in February
Nominal retail sales in February expanded 0.5% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, contrasting January’s 0.3% fall which was affected by the prolonged bushfire season. Retail shopping was spurred by fears of shortages of essential products due to the spread of coronavirus in February.
February’s jump was the result of much higher sales in department stores as well as of higher sales of food retailing and household goods retailing more than offsetting lower sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing.
In annual terms, retail sales soared 5.7% in February, up from January’s 2.2% increase and the sharpest increase in four years. Meanwhile, annual average growth in retail sales rose from 2.6% in January to 2.8% in February.