Retail Trade, Australia

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Monthly and quarterly estimates of turnover and volumes for retail businesses, including store and online sales.

Reference period
February 2021

Key statistics

The February 2021 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Fell 0.8% month-on-month. 
  • This updates the fall of 1.1% published in the Preliminary Retail Trade release.
  • Australian turnover rose 9.1% compared to February 2020.
Turnover at current prices
Feb-2021 ($m)Jan-2021 to Feb-2021 (% change)Feb-2020 to Feb-2021 (% change)
Seasonally Adjusted30,300.6-0.89.1

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Total retail turnover

Changes in this issue

To understand more about any changes in this issue including this months Extraordinary Annual Series Review (EASR), suspension of trend estimates, and COVID-19 in February, please read the survey impacts and changes

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing fell 3.0% (-$375.9m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:      

  • fell 2.6% (-$275.2m) for Supermarket and grocery stores.        
  • fell 5.6% (-$74.5m) for Liquor retailing.        
  • fell 2.9% (-$26.2m) for Other specialised food retailing.    

Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing rose 0.7% ($40.9m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.    

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:        

  • rose 2.4% ($49.8m) for Electrical and electronic goods retailing.        
  • rose 1.8% ($26.6m) for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing.    
  • fell 1.8% (-$35.6m) for Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing.    

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 1.6% ($38.4m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 2.8% ($21.8m) for Footwear and other personal accessory retailing.        
  • rose 1.0% ($16.5m) for Clothing retailing.    

Department stores

Department stores rose 2.2% ($36.6m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Other retailing

Other retailing fell 0.4% (-$18.9m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.     

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:        

  • fell 1.7% (-$35.0m) for Other retailing n.e.c..        
  • fell 1.9% (-$10.4m) for Other recreational goods retailing.        
  • fell 1.1% (-$2.3m) for Newspaper and book retailing.        
  • rose 1.7% ($28.8m) for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 1.1% ($41.1m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.    

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:

  • rose 2.5% ($53.0m) for Cafes, restaurants and catering services.        
  • fell 0.7% (-$11.9m) for Takeaway food services.

Original estimates for chains and larger retailers, and smaller retailers

  • The original estimate for chains and other larger retailers fell 13.4% in February 2021.
  • The original estimate for smaller retailers fell 5.5% in February 2021.

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Survey impacts and changes

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

An Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review (EASR) was completed prior to the release of February data. Further information is available below. 


Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review (EASR)

The Extraordinary Annual Seasonal Review has individually assessed each series to determine how each observation from the previous year should be treated for estimation of the seasonal factors used to seasonally adjust the current end of the series.  This process has ensured any disruption to series caused by COVID-19 does not unduly affect estimates of the seasonal factors.

As Retail Trade series currently use the forward factors method, revisions to the seasonally adjusted series are likely to be larger than the revisions historically observed following previous Annual Seasonal Reviews. Series which have used forward factors have used static seasonal factor estimates for the previous year, and the review has updated these seasonal factor estimates by incorporating relevant information from the previous year's observations.  

New forward factors have been calculated and will be used from the February 2021 publications. 

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur during the Coronavirus pandemic. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for irregular events, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying retail activity.

The retail trend series was therefore suspended from February 2020, and now published only to June 2019. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in retail.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in February

The World Health Organisation identified COVID-19 as an international health emergency on 30 January 2020.

In March 2020, nationwide regulations were introduced to encourage physical distancing which impacted the ability of businesses to trade as normal. Movement across state borders were also restricted.

In July 2020, Victoria saw increased regulations, especially in Melbourne, that remained in place for much of August through to the end of October last year.

Recent changes to restrictions include those introduced to Perth and some regional areas of Western Australia from 31 January 2021 through to 5 February 2021. Victoria also saw statewide Stage 4 restrictions in force from 12 February 2021 through to 16 February 2021. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.


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