Retail sales at record level, up 1.6% in March

Media Release

Australian retail turnover rose 1.6 per cent in March 2022, reaching a new record level, according to the Retail Trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics, Ben James, said the result was up 0.8 per cent on the previous record level set in November 2021. This follows a 1.8 per cent rise in February 2022, a 1.6 per cent rise in January 2022 and a fall of 4.1 per cent in December 2021.

“Rising prices, combined with the continued easing of restrictions across the country has led to rises in turnover in all three months of the March quarter.

“Consumer spending rose across both discretionary and non-discretionary industries.  Following flooding in late February and early March along the east coast, impacted businesses regained lost turnover from forced closures as consumers restocked pantries.”

Leading the increase across all industries was household goods retailing, up 3.4 per cent, followed by other retailing (2.0 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.0 per cent), department stores (4.1 per cent), food retailing (0.5 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.5 per cent).

Every state and territory saw a rise in retail sales except for South Australia, with turnover down 0.7 per cent. Queensland (3.4 per cent) and New South Wales (1.8 per cent) experienced the largest increases following the recovery from flooding and extreme rainfall in late February and early March.

Turnover in Western Australia (1.9 per cent) recovered from supply chain issues last month, with rises also seen in Victoria (0.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.1 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.9 per cent) and Tasmania (0.7 per cent).

Additional information on the March reference period, including quarterly price and volume data, will be released on 10 May 2022. Please see survey impacts and changes for further information.

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

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.

Media notes

  • When referring to rises and falls in terms of size, these numbers reflect the financial gain or loss in dollar terms, not necessarily the highest percentage rise or fall.

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

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

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