8622.0 - Retail and Wholesale Industries, Australia, 2005-06  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/08/2007   
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August 17, 2007
Embargoed 11.30 am (AEST)

Australia's retailers generated $292.3 billion in income while wholesalers generated $354.2 billion during 2005-06, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Retailers employed 1,230,000 people - 31% in food retailing. Wholesalers employed 509,000 people.

The retail and wholesale industries contributed almost 11% to the nation's economy.

The 157,000 retailers reported an operating profit before tax of $13 billion (or $83,300 per business), representing an operating profit margin of 4.5%.

The retail industry was predominantly small businesses with most (96%) owner-operated or employing fewer than 20 people. These businesses generated 34% of retail income and an operating profit before tax of $5.7 billion.

In contrast, the just over 600 businesses employing 100 or more people and accounting for only 0.4% of all retail businesses in Australia, generated nearly 45% of all income. The operating profit before tax of these businesses was $5.3 billion.

States and territories:
  • New South Wales accounted for 32% of retail industry employment and generated a third (32.8%) of total sales of goods and services.
  • Victorian retailers comprised just above a quarter of all employment (25.9%) and total sales of goods and services (25.5%).

Commodity sales:
  • Food retailing accounted for the largest proportion of all retail commodities sold in 2005-06 with 20%. Transport equipment accounted for 14%, petroleum, gas and coal 12%. Clothing made up 9% of all retail sales.
  • Products with the highest margins on sales were clothing (47%) and textiles (43%). In contrast, the products with the lowest margins were petroleum, gas and coal (6%) and transport equipment (10%).

In addition, Australia's 84,900 wholesalers had an operating profit before tax of $16.3 billion (or $192,300 per business).

Further information can be found in Retail and Wholesale Industries, Australia, 2005-06 (cat no. 8622.0) and Retail and Wholesale Industries, Australia: Commodities, Australia (cat no. 8624.0)