Preliminary Retail turnover rises 8.2 per cent in March


Australian retail turnover rose 8.2 per cent in March 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to preliminary retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This is the strongest seasonally adjusted rise ever published in the Retail Trade publication, surpassing an increase of 8.1 per cent in June 2000 when households brought forward expenditure ahead of the GST implementation.

These preliminary figures, which will be subject to revision with the final monthly estimate published 6 May, 2020 in Retail Trade, Australia (Cat no 8501.0), indicate unprecedented demand in March in the Food retailing industry, with strong sales across supermarkets, liquor retailing and other specialised food.

Additional analysis indicates monthly turnover doubled for products such as toilet and tissue paper, and rice and pasta. In addition to food retailing, sales were also strong in retail industries selling items related to home offices for example.

The rises were slightly offset by strong falls in industries including cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, which were impacted by new social distancing regulations introduced in March.

Future preliminary retail turnover estimates will be published around two weeks prior to the advertised release date of Retail Trade, Australia (Cat no 8501.0).

Further information is available in Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 8501.0.55.008). More detailed industry analysis and further information on the statistical methodology will be available in the final release, Retail Trade, Australia (cat no. 8501.0) for March, on 6 May, 2020.

The ABS thanks all those who contributed data to this release. Further ABS data measuring the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.

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