High food prices drive retail spending

Retail turnover recorded its fourth consecutive monthly increase in April, driven by rising food prices.

30 May 2022 

Australian retail turnover rose 0.9% in April 2022, reaching another record level, according to the retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics, Ben James, said this is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in retail turnover this year following a 1.6% rise in March 2022, a 1.8% rise in February 2022 and a 1.6% rise in January 2022.

“The strength in retail turnover is being driven by spending across the food industries. High food prices have combined with increased household spending over the April holiday period as more people are travelling, dining out and holding family gatherings,” Mr James said. 

“There were strong rises in both food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. This is a contrast to the consumer behaviour previously seen during the pandemic, where these two industries would consistently move in opposite directions as outbreaks and restrictions either tightened or eased.”

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Food retailing had the largest rise, up 1.9%, followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (3.3%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.1%) and other retailing (0.5%).

Two industries experienced falls in turnover this month, with household goods retailing falling by 2.7% and department stores by 2.5%.

NSW was the only state or territory to record a fall, down 0.3% following last month’s strong result.

Queensland had the largest rise in retail turnover, up 1.6%, as a further easing of public health restrictions saw the removal of density limits, as well as check-in and vaccination requirements to enter venues boosting trade.

Turnover also rose in Victoria (1.1%), Western Australia (2.2%), South Australia (1.4%), Tasmania (2.0%), the Australian Capital Territory (0.5%) and the Northern Territory (0.7%).

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