Holiday spending spree drives 7.5% year-on-year retail sales growth

Retail sales have been boosted by record Christmas and Boxing Day trading to mark 16 consecutive months of year-on-year growth in December 2022 – a strong increase of 7.5% on the same time the previous year – according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

As shoppers celebrated the first restriction-free Christmas since 2019, there were strong year-on-year sales increases for cafes, restaurants, and takeaway (up 25.46%) with department stores (up 11.1 %) and clothing, footwear and accessories (up 7.4%) also recording strong growth.

South Australia led year-on-year growth (up 10.9%) followed by New South Wales (up 9.0%), with Victoria also marking a notable increase. (up 6.5%).

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra said whilst the results remain impressive for retail, the margin between inflation and sales growth is narrowing.

“Today’s data marks 16 consecutive months of year-on-year sales growth, which is an enormous achievement for retailers considering the disruption and challenges of the past few years,” Mr Zahra said.

“When you combine the strength of the record November retail sales, predominately driven by the success of Black Friday/Cyber Monday with December retail sales, this would account for a record holiday trade of $70.3 billion.

“Australia saw a bumper Boxing Day spending spree, which bolstered sales to notch an impressive year-on-year increase.

“December’s results remain strong in the face of adversity, with economic headwinds proving to be a hurdle. With inflation hitting a post-1990 peak, it appears to be driving a significant proportion of sales growth.”

Mr Zahra flagged that figures were beginning to stabilise after periods of fluctuation.

“Due to the uneven impact of the post-pandemic recovery across the sector, sales figures have fluctuated quite dramatically. We’re starting to see a return to pre-pandemic trends.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade Data – December 2022

December 2021December 2022Increase/decrease
Food$12930 m$13810 m+6.8%
Household goods$5844 m$5773 m-1.2%
Clothing, footwear, accessories$2581 m$2772 m+7.4%
Department stores$1549 m$1721 m+11.1%
Other retailing$5066 m$5242m+3.5%
Cafes, restaurants, takeaway$4107 m$5131 m+25.5%
Total$32078 m$34472 m+7.5%

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