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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has confirmed its preliminary retail trade figures for May, reporting that turnover in retail trade increased 16.9% in May. 

Releasing the May preliminary figures two weeks ago, the ABS estimated that the sector would increase 16.3% following a fall of 17.7% in April 2020.

According to the figures, Department stores experienced a rise in May jumping up 44.4%, with the ABS stating that the category is at a level, "well above the same time last year."

ABS director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys Ben James said some retailers have experienced December-like trade.

"The gradual easing of social distancing regulations, and the re-opening of physical stores, bolstered retail trade in May,"

"Retailers across a range of industries reported high numbers of consumers returning to stores, with some retailers noting levels similar to those seen in December," he said.

Across Australia there were rises in each of the States.

New South Wales (16.5%), Victoria (17.2%), Queensland (16.6%), Western Australia (19.7%), South Australia (16.1%), Tasmania (17.3%), the Australian Capital Territory (12.2%), and the Northern Territory (8.1%) all rose in May 2020.

Online sales contributed 10.1% to total retail turnover, down on the 11.1% contributed in April 2020, as physical stores reopened.

This is still four percentage points higher than the 6.2% contribution seen in May 2019.

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