Published: July 04, 2018

ABS retail trade figures are in: Here’s how SA shoppers are doing it for their state

South Australia is enjoying the second strongest retail sector in the nation, according to new Australia Bureau of Statistics data.

The figures show the state’s year-on-year average has grown by 3.35 per cent with only Victoria tracking better at 4.34 per cent.

Tasmania is sitting in third place at 3.09 per cent followed by New South Wales on 3.01 per cent.

Western Australia is positioned last, its trade sector shrinking by 0.04 per cent.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said while nationally the May trade figures are above market expectations, they represent a weaker lead-in to winter than many retailers would have liked.

However, he says overall SA is doing well and there are signs confidence is returning to the local retail sector – year on year, May was up 2.35 per cent compared to the same month in 2017, and healthier than April’s increase of 1.76 per cent.

“SA should be quite proud of itself when you consider the year-on-year average for the past 12 months,” he said.

“Nationally, the 50-year growth rate average for the retail industry is 3.80 per cent – so at 3.35 per cent, SA isn’t doing too badly.”

The figures in SA are among the best in the nation, despite a weaker lead in to winter than many retailers would have liked. Picture: AAP Image/ Brenton Edwards

He says while SA comes off a lower retail trade base than some other states, the positive news is its ongoing growth.

“Personally, I think the state will be an interesting place to watch in the next few months and years, particularly in light of the recently announced subs contract ($35 billion Future Frigate Project).”

Mr Zimmeran says he also expects to see a boost on the back of the introduction of the second stage of the penalty rate reduction as well as the implementation of the low-value import threshold (LVIT) GST.

“The retail industry received two big wins … and we look forward to the benefits this will bring our retailers, their staff and the overall economy,” he said.

The biggest growth across the ABS retail categories nationally were in the categories of Liquor (5.95 per cent), Other Retailing (5.77 per cent) and Specialised Food (5.06 per cent).

“Another positive for May trade is the fact that department stores have received their best figures since October last year, this could be because they began their mid-year sales earlier,” Mr Zimmeran said.

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys at ABS, Ben James, also sees this as a highlight.

“Department stores led the rises (at 3.9 per cent),” he said.

“There was also a strong result in clothing, footwear and personal accessories, which rose 2.2 per cent. Both industries were able to rebound after unusually warm weather impacted April sales.”

Nationally, online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in May 2018, a rise from 5.4 per cent in April 2018 – in May 2017, online retail turnover contributed 3.9 per cent to total retail.



Victoria, 4.34 per cent

South Australia, 3.35 per cent

Tasmania, 3.09 per cent

New South Wales, 3.01 per cent

ACT, 2.26 per cent

Queensland, 1.24 per cent

Northern Territory, 1.07 per cent

Western Australia, — 0.04 per cent

Article by Rebecca Baker, Consumer Affairs, originally appeared in The Advertiser on July 4, 2018