Retail sales rise, up 0.9% in April

Media Release

Australian retail turnover rose 0.9 per cent in April 2022, reaching another 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 this is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in retail turnover this year following a 1.6 per cent rise in March 2022, a 1.8 per cent rise in February 2022 and a 1.6 per cent rise in January 2022.

“The strength in retail turnover is being driven by spending across the food industries. High food prices have combined with increased household spending over the April holiday period as more people are travelling, dining out and holding family gatherings.

“There were strong rises in both food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. This is a contrast to the consumer behaviour previously seen during the pandemic, where these two industries would consistently move in opposite directions as outbreaks and restrictions either tightened or eased.”

Food retailing had the largest rise, up 1.9 per cent, followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (3.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.1 per cent) and other retailing (0.5 per cent).

Two industries experienced falls in turnover this month, with household goods retailing falling by 2.7 per cent and department stores by 2.5 per cent.

New South Wales was the only state or territory to record a fall, down 0.3 per cent following last month’s strong result.

Queensland had the largest rise in retail turnover, up 1.6 per cent, as a further easing of public health restrictions saw the removal of density limits, as well as check-in and vaccination requirements to enter venues boosting trade.

Turnover also rose in Victoria (1.1 per cent), Western Australia (2.2 per cent), South Australia (1.4 per cent), Tasmania (2.0 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (0.5 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.7 per cent).

Additional information on the April reference period will be released on 2 June 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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