Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary

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Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of retail turnover in Australia

Reference period
November 2020

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 7.0% ($2,071.6m) from October 2020 to November 2020. 
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 13.2% in November 2020 compared with November 2019. 
Nov-2020 ($m)Oct-2020 to Nov-2020 (% change)Nov-2019 to Nov-2020 (% change)
Turnover at current prices
Seasonally Adjusted31,623.97.013.2

This release provides a preliminary estimate for Australian retail turnover for November 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 11 January 2020.

Total retail turnover

  • Victoria (21%) led the rises, with November seeing the first full month of trade following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in that state.  
  • Excluding the Victorian rise, monthly turnover rose 2.7% in seasonally adjusted terms. 
  • South Australia, which saw a three day period of restrictions in November, saw a flat result. A rise in Food retailing in South Australia was offset by falls in most other industries. 
  • By industry, Household goods led the rises (13%), impacted by a full month of trade in Victorian stores, a successful Black Friday sales period, and new product releases in the Electrical and electronic goods subgroup.
  • Monthly rises were also significant in Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, Department stores, Other retailing, and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. 

Data notes

Caution should be exercised when 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 have 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.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.55.008.

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