Tasmanian retailers had their biggest ever sales month in June.
In another sign the coronavirus-driven recession was not crushing all Tasmanian businesses, the state’s merchandise exporters had their two biggest ever sales months to key market China in May and June.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated Tasmanian retail sales soared by $24 million to a record $629.9 million in June in seasonally adjusted terms.
Tasmanian turnover slumped to $516.4 million in April during the peak of movement and retail restrictions, but picked up strongly in May and June.
Sales in February – before the downturn hit – totalled $575.4 million.
That was roughly the pre-pandemic “normal”.
Sales from supermarkets and grocery stores increased by $4 million in June, the ABS estimated, to $240.9 million.
The record was $267.7 million in March.
Liquor sales increased by $400,000 in June to $35.6 million.
That was the second highest on record, behind April, although the liquor sales estimates were only available from April 2019 and onwards.
Cafes, restaurants and catering services continued their climb back from their April nadir.
They had just $4.6 million of estimated sales in April in the depths of the lockdown.
The ABS estimated they recovered to $7 million in May and then $22.7 million in June.
That remained well below their pre-pandemic levels, such as $34.3 million in February.
Clothing sales nearly made it back to normal levels in June, increasing to $20.4 million from $13.3 million in May and just $4.6 million in April.
The ABS estimated Tasmanian merchandise export sales to mainland China were valued at a record $170 million in May and $160 million in June in original terms.
The previous three months’ tallies were $115 million, $92 million and $117 million.
It was not clear how much of the increase was related to Chinese government stimulus spending.
The timing of minerals shipments can cause large monthly variations.
The ABS estimated total Tasmanian merchandise exports for overseas were valued at $334 million in June.
That was the highest estimated monthly total since October.