Retail turnover rises 0.5 per cent in February

2 April 2020

Australian retail turnover rose 0.5 per cent in February 2020, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

"Retailers reported a range of impacts from COVID-19 in February" said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, "with increases in food retailing slightly offset by falls in more discretionary spending."

There were rises for food retailing (0.8 per cent), department stores (3.1 per cent), household goods retailing (0.7 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent), and other retailing (0.2 per cent). These rises were partially offset by a fall in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.9 per cent),

The increase in food retailing sales is supported by additional analysis conducted by the ABS to enhance the understanding of the economic impacts of COVID-19, which showed significant rises in supermarket purchases in February 2020, especially around essential grocery items.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in Queensland (0.8 per cent), Victoria (0.5 per cent), Western Australia (1.2 per cent), South Australia (0.4 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (1.1 per cent). Tasmania (0.0 per cent) and New South Wales (0.0 per cent) were relatively unchanged. The Northern Territory (-0.7 per cent) fell in seasonally adjusted terms in February 2020.

Online retail turnover contributed 6.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in February 2020. In February 2019, online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail.