Retail sales rebound by 1.9 per cent in January

Media Release

Australian retail turnover rose 1.9 per cent in January 2023, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This follows a 4.0 per cent fall in December 2022.

Ben Dorber, ABS head of retail statistics, said: “The rebound in retail turnover in January followed a substantial fall of 4.0 per cent in December and a large rise of 1.7 per cent in November.

“Looking through this volatility shows that turnover is at a similar level to September 2022, and on average, growth has been flat over the past few months.

“November, December and January are the most seasonal months of the year, with retail activity heavily affected by the Christmas period and January holidays. This has been heightened by an increase in the popularity of Black Friday sales and growing cost of living pressures combining to drive a change in usual consumer spending patterns.”

Turnover rose in all industries, driven mainly by non-food industries rebounding from large falls in December. Department stores had the largest rise (8.8 per cent), followed by clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (6.5 per cent), other retailing (2.9 per cent) and household goods retailing (1.1 per cent).

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose (1.2 per cent) to a new record high level following slowing growth in recent months.

"The continued return of large-scale sporting and cultural events in January, combined with high costs reflected in prices, has boosted sales in catering services which are part of the cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services industry,” Mr Dorber said.

Food retailing had the smallest rise (0.3 per cent).

Retail turnover rose across all states and territories, a reversal of last month’s declines across the country.

Additional information on the January reference period will be released on 7 March 2023.

More industry and state analysis and further information on the statistical methodology is available in Retail Trade, Australia.

Media notes

  • All statistical figures in this media release are in seasonally adjusted terms.

  • Seasonal adjustment is the process of estimating and removing seasonal effects to allow comparison of data for adjacent months. See methodology for more details.

  • Revisions to seasonally adjusted estimates are due to the concurrent methodology for deriving seasonal factors. For further information, please read survey impacts and changes.

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.

  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).

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