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Retail Trade, Australia

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

Reference period
March 2021
Released
10/05/2021

Key statistics

The March 2021 seasonally adjusted estimate: 

  • Rose 1.3% month-on-month.
  • This updates the rise of 1.4% published in the Preliminary Retail Trade release. 
  • Rose 2.2% compared with March 2020.
  • In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate fell 0.5% in the March quarter 2021.
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Turnover at current prices
Mar-2021 ($m)Feb-2021 to Mar-2021 (% change)Mar-2020 to Mar-2021 (% change)
Trendnanana
Seasonally Adjusted30699.61.32.2

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Turnover in volume terms
March Qtr 2021 ($m)December Qtr 2020 to March Qtr 2021 (% change)March Qtr 2020 to March Qtr 2021 (% change)
Trendnanana
Seasonally Adjusted86393.3-0.54.7

Total retail turnover

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Changes in this issue

To understand more about any changes in this issue, suspension of trend estimates, and COVID-19 in March, please read the survey impacts and changes

Analysis by industry

Food retailing

Food retailing fell 0.9% (-$116.4m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.                        

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:                         

  • fell 1.2% (-$122.0m) for Supermarket and grocery stores.
  • fell 0.6% (-$6.9m) for Liquor retailing.
  • rose 1.4% ($12.5m) for Other specialised food retailing.
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Household goods retailing

Household goods retailing fell 0.1% (-$4.0m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.                    

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:                         

  • fell 2.1% (-$44.2m) for Electrical and electronic goods retailing.
  • rose 1.9% ($36.5m) for Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing.               
  • rose 0.2% ($3.7m) for Furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textile goods retailing.  
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Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing rose 5.4% ($128.6m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.                               

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:                         

  • rose 5.6% ($89.1m) for Clothing retailing.                             
  • rose 5.0% ($39.5m) for Footwear and other personal accessory retailing.
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Department stores

Department stores rose 8.5% ($141.7m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.

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Other retailing

Other retailing rose 1.4% ($62.8m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.                        

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:                         

  • rose 2.3% ($47.3m) for Other retailing n.e.c..                     
  • rose 1.5% ($26.6m) for Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods retailing.                     
  • rose 2.7% ($5.4m) for Newspaper and book retailing.                      
  • fell 3.0% (-$16.3m) for Other recreational goods retailing.             
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Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose 4.8% ($186.3m) in March, in seasonally adjusted terms.                     

By industry subgroup, the seasonally adjusted estimate:                         

  • rose 5.9% ($126.7m) for Cafes, restaurants and catering services.                             
  • rose 3.5% ($59.5m) for Takeaway food services. 
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Original estimates for chains and larger retailers, and smaller retailers

  • The original estimate for chains and other larger retailers rose 12.9% in March 2021.
  • The original estimate for smaller retailers rose 14.2% in March 2021.

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Survey impacts and changes

Changes in this issue

There are no revisions to the original estimates.

This issue includes updated online retail turnover estimates for the March 2021 reference month. 

This month also includes updated per capita data, included in the Data Downloads section of this publication. 

An Annual Seasonal Reanalysis was completed for the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD), used in the creation of Quarterly Seasonally Adjusted Chain Volume Measures (CVM). This has led to minor revisions in the Quarterly CVM and IPD series. 

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 March

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. 

In March 2021, the Greater Brisbane region in Queensland saw restrictions reintroduced on 29 March which continued until the end of the month. 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8501.0.

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