Mixed fortunes for Victoria’s SMEs post-lockdown

New data reveals that overall transaction volumes have almost returned to pre-COVID levels across Victoria after the COVID-19 lockdown. However, many small and medium businesses in the state continue to struggle.

The latest spending data released by eftpos, marking the fact that the payment system has joined as a member of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reveals that Victorians spent most on DIY, flowers and homewares across small and medium retailers in the week COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased. Compared to 2019, building and garden supplies were up 25 per cent, florists up 23 per cent, newsagencies up six per cent and furniture and homewares and appliance retailers also up six per cent.

However, many industries in Victoria are still facing difficulties, with real estate services revenenues falling by 81 per cent, clothing and soft goods 25 per cent), hairdressing and beauty spas 20 per cent, veterinary and pet supplies25 per cent, medical and dental businesses 41 per cent and charity and opportunity shops eight per cent lower.

“It was only a few months ago these same businesses endured their lowest yearly sales on record,” eftpos CEO Stephen Benton said.”In August, florists along with furniture, homewares and appliance retailers were down 63 per cent, and building and garden supplies sales had dropped 28 per cent, as restrictions kept Victorians at home.

“As the backbone of the local retail community, regenerating our small and medium businesses is key to fuelling Australia’s economic recovery.”

Benton said while there was no doubt business confidence levels were rising, this does not translate to a uniform lift in sales volumes at the register just yet.

“Many of the small and medium businesses categories that we analysed are still significantly down on yearly sales,” Benton said, noting that the latest figures painted a revealing picture of the new reality and the effect of this pandemic for small and medium businesses across Victoria, which was why eftpos’ membership with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) was even more vital.

“Teaming up with VCCI as the state builds the road to recovery for small and medium businesses exposed to the shocks felt by COVID-19 is a focus for eftpos, as we rally together behind local businesses,” Benton said. “We know Victorians are keen to kick start their local business communities, with an emphasis on buying local and supporting Australian retailers.”

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra said the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the partnership.

“The data eftpos has released…shows mixed fortunes across a range of sectors with some doing it tougher than others as a result of COVID-19 restrictions,” Guerra said. “We’d like to see as many people back to work as possible now so that we can kickstart our economy and put the eftpos machines to work in the lead up to Christmas.”

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