It will be a merry Christmas for retailers

November sales increased 6.5 per cent compared to the same time last year as retail sales continue to strengthen in the lead up to Christmas, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.

Household goods bounced back strongly, up 15 per cent, while clothing sales had a strong performance as well (up 18.9 per cent).

Australian Retailers Association CEO, Paul Zahra, says businesses have strong momentum with Christmas just a few days away.

“Retail sales are continuing to accelerate in the run up to Christmas and that’s music to the ears of many retailers, particularly small businesses that are looking to make up for the substantial trading losses they incurred during the Delta lockdowns,” he says.

“There’s a real buzz in the air at our major shopping destinations with people back out and about in droves. Consumer confidence is in positive territory; we had a record-breaking Black Friday, so all the signs are pointing to a buoyant Christmas trading period.”

And it won’t stop with Christmas, as post-Christmas sales are expected to reach $21 billion in the three weeks after Boxing Day.

“Most of the borders are coming down, with the states and territories remaining committed to their reopening plans, so businesses have certainty which drives confidence and is critical at this time of year."

Despite the upbeat trading conditions, the two significant issues retailers are dealing with right now are supply chain disruptions and staff shortages. Supply chains have been an issue for a while, with domestic and global factors creating a perfect storm for retailers and consumers.

“Whilst we’re now seeing the gradual return of international students and skilled migrants, staffing will remain a challenge with many businesses unable to trade at their full potential,” Zahra adds.