INTERPRETING RETAIL TRADE TRENDS
The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. In the short term, this measurement may be significantly affected by unusual influences affecting the original and seasonally adjusted data. The Federal Government Economic Security Strategy Package implemented in December 2008 impacted on Australian retail turnover in December quarter and may have some impact on future spending patterns (e.g. payments initially saved or used to reduce debt may influence spending patterns in future months).
Using time series techniques, the impact of this stimulus package was assessed as statistically significant in the monthly Retail trade series. The monthly trend series was suspended at December 2008 as data for future months are required to determine the trend in monthly retail turnover through the period affected by the stimulus package. For more details, see the December 2008 issue of Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0).
Using the same time series techniques, the impact of the stimulus package was not statistically significant in the quarterly Retail trade series (i.e. it has had a smaller impact when combined with data for another two months and may be less distinguishable from other irregular influences over this period). Therefore, the quarterly trend series are being released. Despite this, the trend series should be interpreted with caution as the underlying behaviour in retail activity may be impacted by initiatives like the stimulus package and other developments associated with global economic conditions.
What-if analysis can be used to assess the reliability of the trend estimates at the end points of the series. The following what-if chart presents the possible change in the trend estimates under two different scenarios. The two scenarios for the next quarter's seasonally adjusted estimates have been derived from the 25th and 75th percentiles of the historical seasonally adjusted movement distribution.
Note that the what-if analysis does not show the unknown impact of revisions to seasonal factor estimates that could arise when the original estimate for the next time period becomes available. For more information see the trend estimates section of the Explanatory Notes.
1 The March quarter 2009 seasonally adjusted estimate of retail turnover is 2.14% higher than the December quarter 2008 estimate.
2 The March quarter 2009 seasonally adjusted estimate of retail turnover is 1.02% higher than the December quarter 2008 estimate.
Due to the unknown influences of global economic conditions and the Government's intervention through monetary and fiscal policies, next quarter's seasonally adjusted outcome may not necessarily fall within in the range suggested by historical patterns.