Australian retail made a solid start to the New Year according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) January figures, with turnover jumping 10.6% compared to the same period last year.

Rises were across all states and territories, except Queensland, which experienced a three-day hard lockdown in January, with sales slumping 1.5%, while sales in Western Australia increased 2.1%.

According to National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb, better than expected GDP figures for the December quarter has delivered a solid start for retail in 2021, with the economy growing 3.1%.

“To put that into context, it’s the first time in more than 60 years that we’ve had two consecutive quarters of growth exceeding 3%.

“The first month of the year is generally a bit slow following the Christmas rush, however domestic retail certainly benefited from consumers unable to travel overseas for holidays. And because of its snap lockdown, Queensland was was the only state to go backwards in January. However, February data will reveal if Western Australia and Victoria experienced a similar reduction in economic activity following their hard lockdowns.

“This is why a swift and safe rollout of the Covid vaccine is essential. Even short, sharp and successful lockdowns can have a material impact on the economy,” Lamb said.

The Australian Retailers Association remains cautiously optimistic about future trading following the release of the January retail figures.

ARA chief executive, Paul Zahra said sales were likely to soften when JobKeeper ends but the lack of Australians being able to go overseas on holiday would likely increase domestic spending.

According to the former boss of David Jones there were still “winners and losers” within the retail industry, with businesses linked to tourism and travel still financially scarred from the pandemic.

Zahra said the shift to digital shopping continued to accelerate, with the latest ABS data showing a 63% rise in the number of online sales compared to a year ago.