Retail turnover down 4.0% in August

Media Release

Australian retail turnover fell 4.0 per cent in August 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.  

This updates the preliminary result of -4.2 per cent, and follows a rise of 3.2 per cent in July 2020. 

Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys said "Victoria, which faced Stage 3 and 4 restrictions in August, fell 12.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms."

There were also falls in New South Wales (-2.0 per cent), Queensland (-1.1 per cent), South Australia (-0.9 per cent), Western Australia (-0.4 per cent), and Tasmania (-0.2 per cent). The Northern Territory (2.0 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (0.7 per cent) rose in seasonally adjusted terms in August 2020. 

Mr James said "All industries fell in August, as trading restrictions in Victoria drove falls at a national level. Household goods retailing (-6.0 per cent), other retailing (-5.1 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-10.5 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-6.6 per cent), and department stores (-8.9 per cent) saw large falls. Food retailing (-0.2 per cent) saw a minor fall." 

While retail turnover has experienced volatility in monthly movements since March 2020, monthly levels being recorded over the last three months are well above levels of a year ago. Retail rose 7.1 per cent compared to August 2019, with food retailing, household goods retailing, and other retailing, particularly strong in through-the-year terms.  

Online sales made up 11.0 per cent of total retail turnover in original terms in August 2020, compared to 9.8 per cent in July. In August 2019, online retail turnover contributed 6.4 per cent to total retail. 

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

The next release will be the Preliminary result for the September month. Data will be released on the week beginning 19 October 2020.

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