1504.0 - Methodological News, Sep 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012   
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This document was added or updated on 23/11/2012.

Upcoming Enhancements to the Retail Business Survey

The Retail Business Survey (RBS) records sales for all employing businesses in Australia whose principal activity is to sell goods and services to households.

There are two enhancements which are in the pipeline to be made to RBS in the next year or so.

The first of these will see the size measure used in stratifying the sample updated. The sample design of the RBS has in recent years relied upon a stratification based on a static version of the Business Activity Statement (BAS) turnover. The last time this 'stratification turnover' was updated was in 2009. As this 'stratification turnover' becomes outdated, the survey estimates becomes gradually more volatile.

In order to combat the aging of the stratification, it is proposed that RBS now stratify by the most recent value of the BAS turnover, which is always up-to-date. This will allow for sampled units to better represent other population units with similar Retail sales. This change has been investigated by Business Survey Methods Section in Statistical Services Branch, and it is recommended for implementation in RBS in the next 6-12 months.

The implementation will be accompanied by a sample re-allocation, to ensure the sample is spread better across the size strata to reflect the turnover distribution as indicated by the up-to-date BAS data.

The second change regards improving information collected about online sales from retailers in Australia. The RBS has successfully trialled a new online sales question which will be added to the RBS hopefully later this calendar year.

Finally, an aspirational goal for the RBS is the expansion of the scope of the survey to cover more service industries. Traditionally, the bulk of businesses who sell to households have been classified under ANZSIC to the Retail industry. However, with the increase in household expenditure to service industries (such as Sports & Recreation), consideration is now being given to increasing the scope of the RBS.

Further Information
For more information, please contact Edward Szoldra (02 9268 4214, edward.szoldra@abs.gov.au)