Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary

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Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of retail turnover in Australia

Reference period
October 2020

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate rose 1.6% ($460.5m) from September 2020 to October 2020. 
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 7.3% in October 2020 compared with October 2019. 
Oct-2020 ($m)Sep-2020 to Oct-2020 (% change)Oct-2019 to Oct-2020 (% change)
Turnover at current prices
Seasonally Adjusted29,618.01.67.3

This release provides a preliminary estimate for Australian retail turnover for October 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 4 December 2020.

Total retail turnover

  • Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services led the rises, although there were also rises for Other retailing, and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing. Household goods retailing was relatively unchanged, maintaining recent strength. 
  • Victoria led the rises in all industries, except for Food retailing, as stores reopened throughout October. Victoria saw a rise of 5.2%, although it remains 5.7% below the levels of October 2019.
  • Australian Retail turnover rose 7.3% compared to October 2019. Excluding Victoria, sales are 11.9% higher than October 2019. 
  • NSW rose 1.6% after falls in August and September 2020. Western Australia led the rises in annual terms, with turnover 15.1% above October 2019. 

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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