CANBERRA, AAP – Retail spending is expected to have taken a further hit in July, due to coronavirus lockdowns in NSW and Victoria.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release retail trade figures for July on Friday, the first of several economic reports for the month due in the coming week.

It’s widely expected the economy contracted in the September quarter as a result of lockdowns in NSW and Victoria, the nation’s two largest economies.

The ACT is also in lockdown until September 2.

Economists are concerned the negative economic impact could extend into the early part of the December quarter.

For July, economists’ forecasts centre on a two per cent decline in retail sales, following a 1.8 per cent drop in June.

Earlier this week, Mastercard SpendingPulse data – which measures in-store and online retail sales – showed a drop of 5.6 per cent in July to be 6.3 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Friday’s ABS report is part of a new schedule for the retail trade series.

The ABS has ceased publication of a monthly preliminary retail report, which was introduced during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, it will now release the key monthly retail trade statistics 20 days after the reference period and a full suite of additional information for business days later.

Meanwhile, the chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Joe Longo has told a parliamentary inquiry the corporate watchdog will take a “reasonable” approach in the early days of new regulations due to come into force in October.

“However, where firms are not acting in good faith or where we detect conduct causing actual harm, we will not hesitate to enforce the law,” he said.

“Such an approach will help ensure that consumers and investors reap the long-term benefits of these reforms.”

ASIC has been criticised for taking a soft-touch approach to corporate regulation.

Mr Longo said the watchdog was committed to an “active and targeted approach to enforcement”.

“By using the full suite of regulatory tools at our disposal, we will disrupt misconduct and drive quick, effective and proportionate regulatory outcomes.”