This release provides a preliminary estimate for Australian retail turnover for May 2020. This estimate is compiled from the monthly Retail Business Survey and is based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover and is therefore subject to revision. The final monthly estimate will be published in Retail Trade, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) on 3 July 2020.
Preliminary May key figures
|May 2020||April 2020 to May 2020|
|Turnover at current prices|
|Seasonally Adjusted||28 829.8||16.3|
Preliminary May key points
- The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 16.3% ($4038.4m) from April 2020 to May 2020. This result is the largest seasonally adjusted month-on-month rise in the 38 year history of the series.
- In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 5.3% in May 2020 compared with May 2019. This compares to an average annual movement in 2019 of 2.7%.
- There were large increases in turnover in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, as restrictions eased throughout the month. The monthly rise in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing exceeds 100% but remains more than 20% down on May 2019. Similarly, Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose around 30% from April to May 2020 but remains 30% below the level of May 2019.
- Turnover increased across all subgroups in the Household goods retailing industry, with Furniture, floor covering, houseware and textile goods retailing, Electrical and electronic goods retailing and Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing all recording large rises from April 2020 to May 2020. Turnover in Household goods retailing is 30% higher compared to May 2019. Turnover for Department stores also increased from April 2020 to May 2020.
- Food retailing rose 7.2% from April 2020 to May 2020. Turnover rose for Perishable goods (7.0%), Non-perishable goods (3.8%) and All other products (5.8%) in May 2020 compared to April 2020, in original terms. Annually, Perishable goods rose 14.5%, Non-perishable goods 11.8%, and All other products 2.5%. The annual growth of 13% in Food retailing is consistent with consumers purchasing additional food and beverage for home consumption.
Caution should be exercised in interpreting preliminary estimates as they may be significantly different to the final published estimates. This is due to several factors:
- Estimates are based on preliminary data provided by businesses that make-up approximately 80% of total retail turnover.
- Where respondents have not yet provided their data, it is estimated (or 'imputed') based on previous responses or averages from similar responding units. The level of imputation in preliminary estimates is significantly higher than for final estimates.
- The quality of imputation for preliminary releases may also be poorer than for final estimates, due to the higher level of non-response. Furthermore, historical imputes which are based on data from previous months, may not accurately reflect changes in the economy due to recent events.
- Changes to imputation methods were been made from the March monthly release to ensure non-respondents are more accurately reflected by the responding units in the current COVID-19 environment.
- Until February 2020 Retail Trade used the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors were re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From March 2020, seasonal factors are calculated using data up to and including February 2020, then projected from March 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.