8622.0 - Retail Industry, Australia, 1998-99  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/10/2000   
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October 13, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS figures show strong growth in retail industry

Employing businesses in the retail trade industry generated $169,251 million in income during 1998-99 - a 48 per cent increase in total income since June 1992, representing an annual growth rate of 5 per cent a year over the seven years, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Most significant contributors to the income were in retail sales ($146,230 million), total service income ($12,802 million) and wholesale sales ($8,227 million).

The average retail sales per square metre for shopfront retailing was $5,568 per square metre. Liquor retailing stores recorded the highest figure with $10,136 of retail sales per square metre.

There were 98,289 employing businesses operating in the retail trade industry at the end of June 1999. Small businesses employing fewer than 20 people dominated the number of businesses in the retail trade industry during 1998-99, with 93,801 businesses representing 95 per cent of all businesses. Yet they only accounted for 38 per cent of total income. Large businesses employing 200 persons or more accounted for less than 1 per cent of businesses, but 41 per cent of total retail income.

In 1998-99, the operating profit before tax for the industry was $5,423 million, which represented an operating profit margin of 3.2 per cent. This was an increase on the operating profit margin of 2.4 per cent recorded in 1991-92.

Businesses in the retail trade industry incurred $164,886 million in expenses during 1998-99. Purchases ($119,639 million) represented the highest single expense, accounting for 73 per cent of total expenses. Labour costs ($21,368 million) were a further 13 per cent of total expenses.

At the end of June 1999, there were 1,104,651 persons employed in the retail trade industry - a 33 per cent increase since June 1992. Almost half of these - 43 per cent or 478,717- were employed in the food retailing industry. Part-time employment predominated in the retail trade industry, with 600,163 persons (57 per cent) employed on this basis.

Of the 600,163 employees who worked part-time, 395,897 (66 per cent) were female. Of the 446,610 employees who worked full-time, 267,274 (60 per cent) were male.

Further details may be found in Retail Industry, Australia 1998-99 (cat. no. 8622.0) available from ABS bookshops. The summary of the publication are also available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.