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Retail turnover up 12.2% from this time last year

This release provides a preliminary estimate for Australian retail turnover for July 2020. This estimate is compiled from the monthly Retail Business Survey and is based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover and is therefore subject to revision. The final monthly estimate will be published in Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) on 4 September 2020.

Preliminary July key figures

July 2020
June 2020 to July 2020
% change

Turnover at current prices
Seasonally Adjusted
30 753.2

Retail turnover, current prices, seasonally adjusted, percentage change
Retail turnover, current prices, seasonally adjusted, percentage change

Preliminary July key points

Current prices

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 3.3% ($993.7m) from June 2020 to July 2020.
  • Turnover rose 12.2% in July 2020 compared with July 2019, in seasonally adjusted terms. This compares to an average annual movement in the 2019-20 financial year of 2.9%.

Retail turnover, current prices, seasonally adjusted and trend
Retail turnover, current prices, seasonally adjusted and trend

  • There were increases across all industries in July, with Household goods retailing leading the rises. Household goods reported a continuation of high levels, with turnover 30% higher in July 2020 than in July 2019. Increased sales of larger items including furniture and whitegoods led to the rise this month.
  • Turnover continued to increase in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, following large falls in March and April 2020. Increases were reported in all states and territories, with the exception of Victoria.
  • A spike in coronavirus cases in July impacted spending in Victoria. Sales in Victoria fell 2% from June 2020 to July 2020, and it is the only state to record a monthly fall. Victorian turnover fell across Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and Department stores. These falls were slightly offset by rises in Food retailing, as spending increased in Supermarkets.
  • Analysis of supermarket scanner data shows that Perishable goods rose 15.4%, Non-perishable goods rose 14.3%, and All other products rose 10.2%, in July 2020 compared with July 2019. Victoria recorded the largest through-the-year rises of Perishable goods (25.1%) and Non-perishable goods (22.9%).


Forthcoming issues

Issue Release date
August 2020 week beginning 21 September 2020
September 2020 week beginning 19 October 2020

Data notes

Caution should be exercised when interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be significantly different to the final published estimates. This is due to several factors:

  • Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover.
  • Where respondents have not yet provided their data, it is estimated (or ‘imputed’) based on previous responses or averages from similar responding units. The level of imputation in preliminary estimates is significantly higher than for final estimates.
  • The quality of imputation for preliminary releases may also be poorer than for final estimates, due to the higher level of non-response. Furthermore, historical imputes which are based on data from previous months, may not accurately reflect changes in the economy due to recent events.
  • Changes to imputation methods have been made from the March monthly release to ensure non-respondents are more accurately reflected by the responding units in the current COVID-19 environment.
  • Until February 2020 Retail Trade used the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors were re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors are calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.

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