A three-day lockdown in Queensland impacted retail trade in January, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' preliminary figures. 

The lockdown saw Queensland slip 1.5% in January while all other states and territories rose in the month. 

ABS director of quarterly economy wide surveys Ben James said lockdowns continued to have an ongoing impact on retail trade in January. 

"There continues to be variations in retail sales between states and territories, as COVID-19 restrictions are tightened or eased in different parts of the country.

"All states and territories rose in January, except Queensland, where a three-day lockdown impacted trade.

"NSW (1.0%) led the rises, as restrictions that began in December were eased during January," he said. 

According to the figures on a month-to-month basis, Australian retail turnover rose 0.6% in January. 

Meanwhile, compared to January 2020, turnover rose 10.7%. 

Speaking on the results, Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra stressed the importance of continued government support and clear criteria for entering lockdowns. 

"Retailers had a really strong finish to the year and that’s now continued through to January, however it doesn’t paint a complete picture of what the sector is going through. 

"While the unemployment rate is trending down and house prices are strong – our economic recovery is uneven, and there are still pockets of retail across the country that will suffer when the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes wind up.

"According to ARA strategic partner Deloitte, there’ll be close to $5 billion less in government support flowing through the economy each month.

"As we’ve seen in Victoria [recently] new cases can emerge at any time and retailers are operating at the whim of the different Premiers in terms of how they might respond with lockdowns and restrictions.

"Even with the imminent rollout of the vaccines, this uncertainty will continue for some time and we repeat our calls for a nationally consistent approach around COVID restrictions, with clear criteria, so businesses can at least operate with some sort of confidence," he said. 

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