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Retail Trade, Australia

This publication contains monthly estimates of turnover for retail establishments

Reference period
February 2020
Released
3/04/2020

Key statistics

  • The trend series has been suspended from February 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 0.5%.

Main features

February key figures

  February 2020January 2020 to February 2020
  
$m
% change
Turnover at current prices  
 Trend
n/a
n/a
 Seasonally Adjusted
27 755.3
0.5
n/a - not available
 
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February key points

Current prices

  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on retail trade, the trend series has been suspended from February 2020.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 0.5% in February 2020. This follows a fall of 0.3% in January 2020, and a fall of 0.6% in December 2019.
  • The following industries rose in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020: Food retailing (0.8%), Department stores (3.1%), Household goods retailing (0.7%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2%), and Other retailing (0.2%). Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.9%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020.
  • The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020: Queensland (0.8%), Victoria (0.5%), Western Australia (1.2%), South Australia (0.4%), and the Australian Capital Territory (1.1%). Tasmania (0.0%) and New South Wales (0.0%) were relatively unchanged. The Northern Territory (-0.7%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020.
     

Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in February

The World Health Organisation (WHO) commenced daily situation reports of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on 21 January 2020 and identified it as an international health emergency on 30 January. From 1 February, the Australian Government placed travel restrictions on those travelling to Australia from mainland China.

COVID-19 did not impact data collection activities for the February 2020 reference month. Individual retail businesses reported a range of impacts attributed to COVID-19:

  • Select businesses, especially in the Supermarket and grocery stores and Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing subgroups, saw an increase in turnover related to the virus. As part of the ABS commitment to understand the economic impact of COVID-19, the ABS has used scanner data to conduct analysis on Supermarket and grocery store spending by Australian households. The analysis shows that retail turnover for discretionary and non-discretionary grocery spending increased by 6.1% and 9.4% respectively in February 2020 compared to February 2019. Further information is included in the Analysis by Industry section.
  • Some businesses, especially those reliant on tourism, reported adverse impacts to turnover.
  • Other businesses saw little impact in February from COVID-19 but expect significant impacts in the March reference month, as restrictions on trading were increased.
     

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur during this time, as certain businesses are restricted from trading for example. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this unusual event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying retail activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in retail activity can be accurately estimated. The retail trend series has therefore been suspended as at February 2020. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in retail.

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates. Revisions to seasonally adjusted estimates are due to the concurrent methodology for deriving seasonal factors.

This issue includes updated online retail turnover estimates for the February 2020 reference month. The estimates are provided and explained in the appendix section of this publication.

Time series data

  • Data available from the Data downloads section of this issue on the ABS website include longer time series of tables in this publication:
  • Monthly retail turnover by state and 15 industry subgroups in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Monthly retail turnover completely enumerated and sample sectors, by six industry groups and also by state in original terms
  • Monthly retail turnover completely enumerated sector, total level in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly retail chain volume measures by six industry groups and also by state in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly retail turnover per capita in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms
  • Quarterly sales to households by selected service industries in original terms
  • Quarterly measures of total retail turnover per capita.

Analysis - total retail

Total retail - monthly

The chart below shows the trend series to January 2020, and the seasonally adjusted series to February 2020. Note, the trend series has been suspended.

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Australian turnover rose 0.5% in February 2020, following a fall of 0.3% in January 2020, and a fall of 0.6% in December 2019.

The original estimate for Australian turnover fell 6.9% in February 2020. The original estimate for chains and other large retailers fell 8.3% in February 2020. The original estimate for smaller retailers fell 3.4% in February 2020.

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Total retail - by state

The following states and territories rose in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020: Queensland (0.8%), Victoria (0.5%), Western Australia (1.2%), South Australia (0.4%), and the Australian Capital Territory (1.1%). Tasmania (0.0%), and New South Wales (0.0%) were relatively unchanged. The Northern Territory (-0.7%) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020.

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Analysis by industry

Food retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Food retailing rose 0.8% in February 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Supermarkets and grocery stores (1.1%), and fell for Liquor retailing (-0.8%), and Other specialised food retailing (-0.8%).

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To enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, scanner data was used to conduct analysis on supermarkets and grocery store spending. The analysis shows that retail turnover for discretionary and non-discretionary groceries (excluding fresh food) increased by 6.1% and 9.4% respectively in February 2020 compared to February 2019.

The largest rises were in non-discretionary goods such as: frozen and canned fruit and vegetables; cereals and breads; toilet and other tissue paper products; pharmaceuticals and personal care products; and infant food and hygiene products. Businesses reported that sales increased in the last week of February.

Household goods retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Household goods retailing rose 0.7% in February 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing (1.3%), and Electrical and electronic goods retailing (0.6%), and was relatively unchanged for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing (0.0%).

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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing fell 2.9% in February 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell for Clothing retailing (-3.1%), and Footwear and other personal accessory retailing (-2.4%).

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Department stores

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Department stores rose 3.1% in February 2020.

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Other retailing

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Other retailing rose 0.2% in February 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing (2.2%), was relatively unchanged for Other recreational goods retailing (0.0%), and fell for Other retailing n.e.c. (-1.4%), and Newspaper and book retailing (-2.0%).

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Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

In current prices, the seasonally adjusted estimate for Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 0.2% in February 2020. By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate rose for Takeaway food services (1.0%), and fell for Cafes, restaurants and catering services (-0.4%).

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Inquiries

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Data downloads

Table 1. Retail turnover, by industry group

Table 2. Retail turnover, by industry group - percentage change from previous month

Table 3. Retail turnover, by state

Table 4. Retail turnover, by state - percentage change from previous month

Table 5. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, volume and price, seasonally adjusted - by industry group

Table 6. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, volume and price, seasonally adjusted - by state

Table 7. Quarterly retail turnover, chain volume measures - by industry group

Table 8. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, chain volume measures - by industry group

Table 9. Quarterly retail turnover, chain volume measures - by state

Table 10. Quarterly retail turnover percentage change, chain volume measures - by state

Table 11. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, original

Table 12. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, seasonally adjusted

Table 13. Retail turnover, state by industry subgroup, trend

Table 14. Retail turnover; completely enumerated (large) and sample (small), by industry group

Table 15. Retail turnover; completely enumerated (large) and sample (small), by state

Table 16. Retail turnover, completely enumerated sector: Australia

Table 17. Quarterly consumer sales, Australia, by type of activity

Table 18. Quarterly consumer sales, Australia, by type of activity - percentage change from previous quarter

Table 19. Quarterly retail turnover per capita, Australia, all series

Table 20. Quarterly retail turnover per capita, Australia, all series - percentage change from previous quarter

All time series spreadsheets