Industry News Research

Retail sales continued to perform well in February according to ABS figures

Retail sales continue to track well according to the latest figures (February 2022) of the monthly ABS Retail Trade data indicating that the overall month-on-month (m-o-m) estimate increased by 1.8%, up from 1.6% in January.

February 2022 recorded the second-highest level of y-o-y Retail Turnover, up 9.1%, in the last 12-months and in nominal terms represents an increase in spending of $2.8 billion.

The following table summarises the key data in seasonally adjusted terms across the six ABS retail categories. Clothing, footwear and personal accessories led the retail categories – with sales up 17.8% compared to 12 months earlier. In seasonally adjusted terms, Retail Turnover increased by 1.8% in the month of February 2022. On a y-o-y basis, Retail Turnover increased by 9.1%.

State by State
Retail Turnover varies within the ABS defined six categories and across different jurisdictions. The following map outlines and compares the total and growth of retail trade over the last 12-months (vs. the pcp), and the best and worst retail growth categories.

The strongest jurisdictions in seasonally adjusted terms were Victoria (up 9% to $95.2 billion) followed by Western Australia (up 7.2% to $42.4 billion) and Queensland (up 5.3% to $78.3 billion).

The ACT (down 0.3% to $6.8 billion) was the ‘worst performing’ jurisdiction in percentage terms, and the first jurisdiction to record negative growth since Victoria in October 2020. The highest growth across all jurisdictions, with the exception of New South Wales, was recorded for ‘discretionary’ categories, most notably ‘Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food’ retailing.

Trend analysis: Consumer sentiment
According to the latest figures from the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Confidence report, consumer sentiment was recorded at 96.6 in March 2022, the first time the index has recorded negative sentiment since September 2020.

Westpac commented that “The latest monthly fall comes as no surprise. The war in Ukraine; the floods in south-east Queensland and Northern NSW; ongoing concerns about inflation and higher interest rates were all likely to impact confidence, although the size of the decline is still notable.”

Pre-pandemic analysis
According to Simon Hemphill, Head of Research, Shopping Centre Council of Australia, comparison of retail spending will be affected throughout 2022 given two main factors.

“Firstly, lockdowns and Government restrictions for ‘non-essential’ retail in certain jurisdictions (including during post-lockdown periods) will negatively impact short-term comparisons, especially for month-on-month or quarter-on-quarter periods,” said Hemphill. “Secondly, record spending during 2020 and 2021, due to the bounce-back of consumer activity, has an impact on longer-term analysis (year-on-year).”

“Given these factors, it is worth making a comparison of Retail Trade over the last two years. Interestingly, all jurisdictions (including those exiting Government restrictions in the latter part of 2021) show positive growth versus the corresponding 12-month period.”

About the author

Shopping Centre News

Shopping Centre News (SCN) is in the ‘information business’, and is perceived as such by its readers. Daily industry news makes a must-visit as part of the morning routine for those who want to keep right across the latest retail developments and events, while SCN's premium magazine is the leading publication for the shopping centre industry in Australia and New Zealand.

Known as the ‘industry bible’ SCN is printed five times a year with fascinating, in-depth features and important critical analysis written by known industry insiders as well as the popular ‘Guns’ reports, which ranks Australian shopping centre performances. Shopping Centre News is the only publication in the world that features centre statistics on Turnover, Turnover per square metre and Specialty Shop turnover per square metre for every major centre in Australia.

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