Australian Retail Trade Dips Slightly in October 2023, Significant Changes Ahead

Australia’s retail sector experienced a minor setback in October 2023, with a 0.2% month-on-month decrease in seasonally adjusted estimates. However, compared to the same month last year, retail trade rose by 1.2%, indicating a positive year-on-year trend.

Key Highlights:

  1. Monthly Dip: The seasonally adjusted estimate for October 2023 shows a 0.2% decrease in retail trade, with total turnover at current prices standing at $35,767.8 million.
  2. Year-on-Year Growth: Despite the monthly dip, there is a positive year-on-year growth of 1.2% compared to October 2022.
  3. Upcoming Detailed Release: An additional information release on December 4, 2023, will provide more detailed results for October 2023. This includes state-by-industry results, state-by-industry sub-group results, and online sales data.
  4. Cessation of Retail Trade Publication: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced the discontinuation of the Retail Trade, Australia publication in August 2025. This decision is attributed to the enhancements to the Monthly Household Spending Indicator (MHSI).
  5. Industry Analysis:
    • Food Retailing: Rose by 0.5% ($67.1 million) in October.
    • Household Goods Retailing: Fell by 0.6% (-$37.2 million).
    • Clothing, Footwear, and Personal Accessory Retailing: Declined by 1.0% (-$30.6 million).
  6. Trend Estimates Unavailable: Trend estimates from March 2020 to June 2022 are not available due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, which may have distorted the data.

While the minor monthly decline is noteworthy, the impending cessation of the Retail Business Survey and Retail Trade Publication indicates a shift in the reporting landscape. Stakeholders are advised to stay tuned for the December release for a more comprehensive understanding of the retail landscape in Australia.