October retail results remain solid despite economic headwinds

Retail sales continue to show robust year on year growth, with $35 billion spent in stores and online in October – an increase of 12.5% on the same time a year ago according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retail turnover fell 0.2% compared to the previous month; the first monthly fall of the year in Retail Trade.

As we continue to cycle the Delta lockdowns of 2021, there were strong year on year sales increases for clothing, footwear and personal accessories (up 32.8%), cafés, restaurants and take away food (up 35.3%) and department stores (up 23.0%).

The ACT led the October year-on-year growth with 24.9%, followed by Victoria with 19.6% and NSW with 19.6% year on year growth.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said whilst the results remain solid for retail, some softening of sales is inevitable as Australian’s confront the cost-of-living challenges.

“October results remain strong when compared to the same period last year, and that is a remarkable result in the face of current challenges,” Mr Zahra said.

“We are optimistic about pre-Christmas trading, anticipating a $63.9 billion spend this year – up 3 percent on 2021 spending according to our ARA-Roy Morgan predictions. However, it’s important to acknowledge that price increases are a factor in these numbers and are also driving Australians to spend to get in ahead of inflation. We haven’t yet seen the forecast inflationary peak, and we anticipate a softening of sales in 2023.

“Early indications of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales points to being record-breaking based on foot traffic and anecdotal feedback however, these results could be due to delayed purchases and Christmas purchases brought forward. The success of this global event can only really be determined at the end of the all-important Christmas trading quarter.

“The rising cost of doing business along with supply chain disruptions and staff shortages remain top of mind for retailers. We continue to engage with governments around short and long-term solutions to aid the retail industry’s permanent state of disruption,” said Mr Zahra.

Retail category performance

RETAIL CATEGORY

YEAR ON YEAR SEASONALLY ADJUSTED RETAIL SALES GROWTH

(OCTOBER 2022 v OCTOBER 2021)

Food retailing

5.2%

Household goods

5.9%

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories

32.8%

Department stores

23.0%

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food

35.3%

Other retailing

9.3%

Total retail

12.5%

State and territory performance

STATE/TERRITORY

YEAR ON YEAR SEASONALLY ADJUSTED RETAIL SALES GROWTH

(OCTOBER 2022 v OCTOBER 2021)

NSW

11.6%

Victoria

19.6%

Queensland

9.0%

Western Australia

7.7%

South Australia

9.9%

ACT

24.9%

NT

2.8%

Tasmania

6.4%

All states and territories

12.5%

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