Tasmanian retail sales slumped by 2.4 per cent in October, the weakest result among the eight states and territories.
That is according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which estimated national retail turnover increased by 4.9 per cent.
That was helped by surges in New South Wales and the ACT as Sydney and Canberra coronavirus lockdowns ended.
Victoria had 3 per cent sales growth and would be likely to get much more this month with Melbourne's lockdown over.
It remains to be seen what Tasmania's border reopening from December 15 will mean for retail sales in the state.
UTAS senior lecturer in marketing and retail researcher Louise Grimmer expected the reopening would give retail a significant boost.
"As long as the border opening doesn't lead to lockdowns, I predict Tassie retail will do really well once the borders open and we welcome visitors from interstate who will bring welcome spending with local retailers, services, hospitality and accommodation," Dr Grimmer said.
"Particularly so with retail in the lead-up to Christmas."
Dr Grimmer suggested Tasmania's weaker October sales might have been "a blip".
"This is interesting, because, throughout COVID, Tasmanian retail has performed well," she said.
"This might be attributed to a bit of a blip with Tasmanians saving up for Christmas shopping and the Black Friday sales.
"I'd expect when we have the November sales data we will see this corrected.
"It may also be that many Tasmanian consumers are saving up money for the border reopening and looking to redirect retail spend on travel instead.
"We've certainly been very lucky here in Tasmania, where our day to day lives have not been significantly disrupted by COVID and, particularly, with regard to our ability to be able to shop freely in stores."
Dr Grimmer said it was important that the public tried to support retail workers.
"There have been some terrible stories in the media this week about abuse directed at retail employees on the mainland," she said.
"We certainly don't want to see that sort of behaviour here.
"Pleasingly, we continue to see Tasmanians shopping in bricks and mortar stores and we're certainly seeing a rise in click and collect, with customers keen to shop online for some items but still wanting to pick them up in physical stores, and this is, of course, great for retailers because research shows that around 50 per cent of customers coming into a store to pick up items purchased online will make an impulse purchase."
Nationally in October, sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessories rocketed up by 27.7 per cent, department store sales gained 22.4 per cent and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services increased sales by 12.3 per cent.
Tasmanian retail sales have been on an upward trend since the start of the year.
They crashed in the second quarter of 2020 as the pandemic and associated movement restrictions crunched the state economy, before recovering strongly.