June 19, 2020 / 1:48 AM / 23 days ago

Australian retail sales surge record 16.3% in May - ABS

SYDNEY, June 19 (Reuters) - Australian retail sales surged a record 16.3% in May as a wide scale easing in coronavirus lockdowns allowed entire sectors to re-open, enabling a recovery from an historic plunge in April.

The stunningly strong bounce suggests consumer spending will be not nearly as weak as first feared in the June quarter, offering hope the economy can recover quickly from its first recession in three decades.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday reported its preliminary estimate of retail sales jumped 16.3% seasonally adjusted in May, from April when it tumbled 17.7%. Sales were also up 5.3% on May last year at A$28.83 billion ($19.77 billion).

There were large rises for household goods, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services.

Sales have swung wildly in recent months, first jumping in March on panic buying ahead of the lockdowns, before collapsing in April when much of the economy closed down.

$1 = 1.4584 Australian dollars Reporting by Wayne Cole Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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