Australian retail turnover declined 0.3 per cent in January, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

This result follows a decline of 0.7 per cent in December. 

ABS director of quarterly economy-wide surveys Ben James put the results down to the bushfires.

"Bushfires in January negatively impacted a range of retail businesses across a variety of industries.

"Retailers reported a range of impacts that reduced customer numbers, including interruptions to trading hours and tourism.

"There were falls for household goods retailing (-1.1 per cent), department stores (-2.2 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.1 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.3 per cent), and other retailing (-0.1 per cent).

"These falls were partially offset by a rise in food retailing (0.4 per cent)," he said.

Geographically, the bushfires had a clear impact across the states, with all declining in January aside from South Australia which rose 0.1 per cent.

The ACT experienced the biggest decline of the states, with retail turnover slipping 2.3 per cent in January.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.3 per cent to total retail turnover in January 2020. In January 2019, online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail.


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