May 20, 2020 / 1:42 AM / 13 days ago

Australian retail sales dive a record 17.9% in April - ABS preliminary estimate

SYDNEY, May 20 (Reuters) - Australian retail sales slumped in April after a record surge the previous month as widespread mobility restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus hit demand for clothing, travel and dining out.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported on Wednesday its preliminary estimate of retail sales plunged a seasonally adjusted 17.9% in April, its biggest ever, from an 8.5% jump in March.

Turnover in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and cafes, restaurants and takeaways was around half the level of April 2019, the ABS noted.

The final estimate of sales is due on June 4. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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