8501.0 - Retail Trade, Australia, Dec 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/02/2009   
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For December 2008, the original and seasonally adjusted estimates include consumer spending resulting from payments received by families and pensioners as part of the Federal Government Economic Security Strategy Package. The full amount of these payments is unlikely to have been spent in December. In addition to contributing to retail turnover in December, the one-off payments may be spent in the retail industry in future months, be spent on non-retail activities, or may be used to reduce debt or to contribute to savings (which may in turn impact on future spending patterns).

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. In the short term, this measurement may be significantly affected by an unusual influence in the original and seasonally adjusted data like that observed in December 2008. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would be likely to provide a misleading view of the underlying trend in retail activity.

Spending behaviour in subsequent months may also be influenced by the December stimulus package and it may be some time before the underlying behaviour of the series can be accurately estimated. The retail trend series has therefore been suspended as at November 2008. The trend series will be reintroduced when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in retail turnover.

As the seasonally adjusted series (except for the completely enumerated total series) are currently estimated using forward seasonal factors based on data to the June 2008 reference month, the seasonal adjustment factors have not been influenced by spending associated with the stimulus package.

Some seasonally adjusted and trend series may differ slightly from those published in the November 2008 issue due to a minor refinement to the seasonal adjustment process.

The following chart shows the trend series, to November 2008, and seasonally adjusted series, to December 2008.

Graph: Total retail turnover, Australia