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 2023

Key statistics

The February 2023 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Rose 0.2% month-on-month.
  • Rose 6.4% compared with February 2022.

An additional information release on 3 April 2023 has seen the inclusion of more detailed results for the February 2023 reference period. Additional timeseries spreadsheets have been published, including; state by industry results, state by industry sub-group results, quarterly turnover volumes, and online sales. 

To understand more about changes in this issue, suspension of trend estimates, and COVID-19 in February 2023, please read the survey impacts and changes section below.

Turnover at current prices
Feb-2023 ($m)Jan-2023 to Feb-2023 (% change)Feb-2022 to Feb-2023 (% change)
Seasonally adjusted35,

na not available

Total retail turnover

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing rose 0.2% ($28.5m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing was relatively unchanged 0.0% ($2.5m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 0.6% ($18.2m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Department stores

Department stores rose 1.0% ($17.9m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Other retailing

Other retailing fell 0.4% (-$20.7m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 0.5% ($25.5m) in February, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Online retailing

Total online retailing sales were $3,934.1m in February 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms. Seasonally adjusted online sales rose 1.9 per cent ($73.5m), following a rise of 0.3 per cent ($12.1m) in January 2023. Seasonally adjusted through-the-year sales are up 6.9 per cent ($254.3m).

Original sales in February 2023 fell by 8.3 per cent (-$294.7m).

In February 2023, food online sales were $1,064.8m and non-food online sales were $2,869.4m in seasonally adjusted terms. Food sales rose 0.8 per cent ($8.2m) and non-food rose 2.3 per cent ($65.4m).

In original terms, the proportion of online food retailing sales to total food retailing rose from 5.2 per cent to 5.4 per cent. The proportion for online non-food retailing sales to total non-food retailing rose from 16.7 percent to 16.9 per cent.

In original terms, the proportion of online sales to total retailing rose from 10.3 per cent in January 2023 to 10.4 per cent in February 2023. In February 2022 this proportion was 10.4 per cent, compared to 5.8 per cent in February 2019. Proportion of online sales have averaged at 10.7 per cent over the past year, suggesting that online sales elevated during the pandemic have now settled at a new level.

Additional notes regarding the online sales series can be found in the Methodology.

Data downloads

Tables 5 through to 23 have been made available on 3 April 2023. Tables 1 through to 4 remain unchanged from their release on 28 March 2023. 

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data Explorer datasets

The data available in Data Explorer is similar to ABS.Stat but with a new interface and added functionality.
For more information about Data Explorer and to see what's changed, see the Data Explorer user guide.

Caution: Data in Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the reference period when using Data Explorer.

Retail Trade, Key Statistics - Monthly retail trade estimates for Australian businesses classified by industry group, or by state and territory.

Retail Trade  - Monthly and quarterly retail trade turnover estimates for Australian businesses classified by industry group, sub group, and by state and territory.

Survey impacts and changes

The release schedule for Retail Trade, Australia

Following the June 2021 reference period,  Retail Trade, Australia (8501.0) moved to the following release schedule to better accommodate data users’ needs.

Key statistics from Retail Trade, Australia are now released 20 working days following the end of the reference period. The full suite of statistics to be made available in an “Additional Information” release four business days later. 

This replaces the former release schedule where all time series spreadsheets were released approximately 24 working days following the end of the reference period.

Timing and availability of time series spreadsheets:

Main Release (i.e. key statistics)20 working days following the end of the reference period1 - 4 Monthly National Turnover
   Monthly Industry Turnover
   Monthly State Turnover
Additional Tables4 working days following the main release5 - 23Monthly State by Industry Turnover
   Monthly Sub-Group Turnover
   Monthly State by Sub-Group Turnover
   Quarterly Volumes and other quarterly statistics
   Online Sales


There are no changes to the availability of data for this publication.  Time series spreadsheet numbering and names, as well as Series IDs remain the same as previously published.

Both of the monthly releases will be based on the same source data. No additional data collection activity will occur between these times.

The ABS will continue to quality assure data between both releases. Revisions to the key statistics anticipated to be rare.

Dates for future releases are available under ‘Future releases’ from the top of this page. There are two advertised dates for each reference period. The earliest date refers to the release of Tables 1 through to 4. The later date indicates when the additional tables (5 through to 23) will be made available.

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

Revisions to seasonally adjusted estimates are due to the concurrent methodology for deriving seasonal factors. Concurrent methodology has been re-instated from the November 2022 reference month. For information on seasonal adjustment please refer to the explanatory notes of this publication.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in retail activity. During the Coronavirus pandemic, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in retail spending that will occur. 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. It is now published only to June 2019.

Please note, with the reinstatement of concurrent adjustment and more certainty in the underlying Retail Trade series, the ABS will continue to review the trend series early in 2023 with a view to reinstating trend data.

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.

Following May 2020, regulations were implemented on a local state and territory basis in response to increased case numbers. In June 2020, Victoria re-introduced restrictions and lockdown measures which extended until October 2020.

Throughout 2021, a number of wide-ranging COVID-19 safety measures and lockdown restrictions were in place across Australia. Most notably there were extended lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory from June 2021 to October 2021. For a detailed breakdown of restrictions throughout 2021, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in December in Survey impacts and changes section of the December 2021 release.

For a detailed breakdown of restrictions throughout 2022, please refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in May in Survey impacts and changes section of the May 2022 release and follow monthly links.

Since May 2022, the only major changes to existing COVID-19 safety measures impacting on Retail Trade was the reduction of mandatory isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19 from seven days to five days from September 9, 2022.

From October 14, 2022, every state and territory ended its public mandate for five days of isolation, except for people who work in high-risk settings such as health and aged care, who are still required to isolate. 

Differences between Retail Trade and New Experimental Economic Indicators

Monthly Business Turnover Indicator

The ABS first released the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator on Friday 15 October 2021. The first in a series of new monthly economic indicators which includes an indicator for Retail Trade.

This experimental indicator is derived from Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Business Activity Statements (BAS) turnover data from monthly BAS remitters. This differs from Retail Trade, Australia in terms of scope and coverage. Monthly BAS reporting for the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator covers businesses with GST annual turnover of $20 million or more and a proportion of smaller businesses that report monthly on a voluntary basis. The turnover estimates in Retail Trade, Australia are compiled from the monthly Retail Business Survey. About 700 'large' businesses are included in the survey every month, while a sample of about 2,700 'smaller' businesses is selected. The 'large' business' contribution of approximately 69% of the total estimate ensures a highly reliable Australian total turnover estimate.

Retail Trade for the Monthly Business Turnover Indicator is aligned strictly to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006. This includes Fuel and motor vehicle retailing but excludes Cafes, restaurants and takeaways. Retail Trade, Australia does include Cafes, restaurants and takeaways, but does not include Fuel and motor vehicle retailing.

For further information see Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, Methodology.

Monthly Household Spending Indicator

The ABS first released the Monthly Household Spending Indicator on Tuesday 22 February 2022.

The experimental Monthly Household Spending Indicator is derived using aggregated, de-identified banks transactions data from some of Australia’s banking and financial institutions.

The ABS transforms the banks transactions data in order to derive the Monthly Household Spending Indicator. As this data is not designed for statistical purposes, its scope varies from Australian National Accounts concept of household final consumption expenditure (HFCE) and the Retail Trade turnover estimates for retail businesses.

The primary difference between the Retail Trade Survey and the household spending indicator is scope. The Retail Trade Survey focuses on measuring turnover, from sole traders and businesses across the Retail industry that predominantly sell to households. The Household spending indicator is recorded at the point of transaction on goods and services across all relevant industries, not just retail, to track a broader range of consumer spending.

For more information on how the Retail Trade Survey and new experimental monthly household spending indicator differ please see Comparison with Retail Trade and Monthly Household Spending Indicator, Methodology.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.


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Post release changes

03/04/2023 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 28 March 2023, the time series spreadsheets for tables 5 through to 23 are now available under the Data Downloads section. This includes:

  • February monthly results for State by Industry Subgroup, Completely Enumerated (large) and Sample (small) businesses, and Online Retail Turnover. 
  • December quarter 2022 results, available in tables 5 through to 10. These results have been published previously.

In addition, an online retailing section has been added to this publication, which shows the most-up-to-date online retail sales.

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