Australian August retail sales fall 4%, Victoria hit hard

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past sales signs on display in the window of a retail store at a shopping mall in Sydney, Australia, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian retail sales fell 4% in August from the month earlier, official data showed on Friday, with the virus-stricken state of Victoria bearing the brunt of the downturn.

The result follows gains of 3.2% and 2.7% in July and June respectively, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Victoria suffered a 12.6% drop as a strict lockdown saw many businesses shut their doors to customers. There were also declines in most other states.

Annual growth was still solid with sales up 7.1% compared to August 2019.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Tom Hogue