Retail Trade, Australia, Preliminary

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Contains preliminary monthly aggregate estimates of retail turnover in Australia

Reference period
September 2020

Key statistics

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate fell 1.5% (-$448.6m) from August 2020 to September 2020. 
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian turnover rose 5.2% in September 2020 compared with September 2019. 
Sep-2020 ($m)Aug-2020 to Sep-2020 (% change)Sep-2019 to Sep-2020 (% change)
Turnover at current prices
Seasonally Adjusted29,032.5-1.55.2

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

Total retail turnover

  • There were falls in turnover in Food retailing, Household goods retailing, and Other retailing, in September. Despite the month-on-month falls, these industries continue to trade at levels above September 2019. 
  • Every state and territory, except the Northern Territory, fell this month. NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia, led the month-on-month falls.  
  • Victoria recorded a minor fall in September following a fall of 12.6% in August when the Stage-4 restrictions in Melbourne, and Stage-3 restrictions in regional Victoria were introduced. Victoria is the only state where turnover remains below levels recorded in September 2019.
  • In seasonally adjusted current price terms, the preliminary estimate shows the September quarter rose 6.8%. This follows a fall of 2.3% in the June quarter. Quarterly volume estimates will be included in the final release on 4 November 2020. 

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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