8501.0 - Retail Trade Trends, Australia, Sep 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/11/2008   
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There have been six months of weak trend growth. This follows a slowing in the rate of trend growth from strong growth in August 2007 to no change in the trend estimate for February and March 2008.

Retail turnover, Australia
Graph: Retail turnover, Australia

The sum of the seasonally adjusted total turnover series for the three months to September 2008 was $55,083.2m, an increase of $641.1m (1.2%) on the sum of the three months to June 2008. However, if the seasonal factors that will be used to compile the quarterly series are applied, the provisional September quarter 2008 total turnover was $55,037.6m, an increase of $446.1m (0.8%) on the June quarter 2008.


Food retailing has had moderate trend growth for five months. Department stores (three months), Clothing and soft good retailing (four months) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (three months) have had weak trend growth while Household good retailing (three months) and Other retailing (four months) have had a decline in the trend estimate.


The trend estimate has been in decline in New South Wales for nine months. Victoria has had weak trend growth for four months. Both Queensland and Tasmania had weak trend growth in September 2008 after four months and two months, respectively, of moderate growth. Western Australia has had seven months of moderate growth. Both South Australia and the Northern Territory have had moderate to strong growth for over 12 months. South Australia has had moderate growth over the last two months, while the Northern Territory has had strong growth over the last five months. The Australian Capital Territory trend series has been in decline from April to July 2008 but the rate of decline has lessened since May 2008. Trend growth for more recent months has been revised significantly and is showing growth but should be used with caution until future observations are included.


The chart above indicates the level of volatility in the seasonally adjusted series. With the new survey design, it is anticipated that the volatility level will increase from July 2008. This increased volatility will contribute to revisions to trend estimates that are larger on average than those produced under the previous sampling methods. The likelihood of revisions needs to be considered when analysing retail trends.

What-if analysis can be used to assess the reliability of the trend estimate at the end points of the series. The following what-if chart presents the possible change in the trend estimates under two different scenarios. The two scenarios for the next month's seasonally adjusted estimates have been derived from the 25th and 75th percentiles of the historical seasonally adjusted movement distribution. The historical seasonally adjusted movements have been adjusted to reflect the expected increase in volatility from the new survey design.

Note that the what-if analysis does not show the unknown impact of revisions to seasonal factor estimates that could arise when the original estimate for the next time period becomes available. For more information see the trend estimates section of the Explanatory Notes.

1 The October seasonally adjusted estimate of retail turnover is 1.39% higher than the September estimate.

2 The October seasonally adjusted estimate of retail turnover is 0.04% higher than the September estimate.

Graph: Effect of new Seasonally adjusted estimates on Trend estimates