Retail volumes up 0.2 per cent in September Quarter

Media Release

Australian retail sales volumes rose 0.2 per cent in the September quarter 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This was the fourth consecutive rise in quarterly retail volumes, but the smallest since COVID-19 lockdowns ended in October 2021.

Ben Dorber, ABS head of retail statistics, said: “Sales volumes reached a new record level in the September quarter 2022, but growth slowed to just 0.2 per cent following 1.0 per cent quarterly rises in the June and March quarters.”

“While volumes growth eased, retail prices climbed a further 2.0 per cent in the September quarter 2022, reflecting the strong rise seen in last week’s Consumer Price Index.”

Department stores had the largest volume rise, up 4.4 per cent, followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (3.3 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.2 per cent). These industries have been the top three in terms of volumes growth in each of the past four quarters, mostly driven by post-lockdown demand.

Household goods retailing recorded the largest quarterly volume fall, down 1.8 per cent in September after a 1.9 per cent fall in June. Food retailing was down 0.6 per cent in September - the industry’s fourth consecutive quarterly fall in volumes, while other retailing also fell 0.5 per cent. These industries had previously recorded high sales volumes during the pandemic.

"The rise in September quarter sales volumes was again driven by those industries most negatively affected by COVID-19 lockdowns last year, where post-lockdown spending remained robust.” Mr Dorber said.

“In contrast, industries that performed better during the pandemic all fell in the September quarter, as sales volumes slowly return to more normal levels.” 

Most states and territories saw rises in the September quarter. The Australian Capital Territory had the largest rise, up 1.7 per cent in volume terms, followed by New South Wales (0.6 per cent), Victoria (0.6 per cent), South Australia (0.3 per cent), the Northern Territory (0.3 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent).

Queensland had the largest fall, down 0.8 per cent, while Tasmania fell 0.3 per cent.

Today's release of Retail Trade follows the initial release of September monthly data, and provides additional information on the September reference period, including quarterly price and volume data.

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

Media notes

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

  • 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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