Retail turnover falls 0.5 per cent in December


Australian retail turnover fell 0.5 per cent in December 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

This follows a rise of 1.0 per cent in November 2019.

"The December fall comes after a strong November, led by Black Friday sales" said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. "There were also some effects from bushfires and associated smoke haze apparent in New South Wales data. Specifically, food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were negatively impacted."

There were falls for department stores (-2.8 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.9 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.5 per cent), food retailing (-0.3 per cent), and household goods retailing (-0.3 per cent). These falls were partially offset by a rise in other retailing (0.2 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in New South Wales (-1.2 per cent), Queensland (-0.5 per cent), South Australia (-1.3 per cent), the Northern Territory (-0.4 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.1 per cent). Victoria (0.0 per cent) and Western Australia (0.0 per cent) were relatively unchanged. Tasmania (1.1 per cent) rose in seasonally adjusted terms in December 2019.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in December 2019, following a 0.3 per cent rise in November 2019. Compared to December 2018, the trend estimate rose 2.8 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in December 2019. In December 2018, online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail.

Quarterly volumes rise 0.5 per cent

For the December quarter 2019, there was a rise of 0.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted volume terms. This follows a fall of 0.1 per cent in the September quarter 2019. The quarterly rise in volumes was led by household goods retailing (1.4 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.5 per cent), department stores (2.1 per cent), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.5 per cent). The rises were slightly offset by seasonally adjusted volume falls in food retailing (-0.4 per cent) and other retailing (-0.6 per cent).

More detailed industry analysis and further information on the statistical methodology is available in Retail Trade, Australia (cat no. 8501.0).

​​​​​​​Media note

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source,
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 (8:30am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri),
  • Subscribe to our email notification service and get media releases or products sent to you on release.
Back to top of the page