Australian Retail Sales: Additional data for May 2023

About the author:

Alexander Mees
Author name:
By Alexander Mees
Job title:
Co-Head of Research and Senior Analyst
Date posted:
06 July 2023, 7:00 AM
Sectors Covered:
Gaming and Retail

  • The ABS released the preliminary retail sales data for May 2023 on 29 June last week, reporting that sales were up 0.7% month-on-month (m/m) and 4.2% year-on-year (y/y). Today, the ABS has released all the additional information that gives a more granular picture of consumer behaviour.
  • At the sub-category level, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Toiletry Goods was the best performer overall (+3.3%). Newspapers and Books was the worst (-4.5%). On a y/y basis, Cafes, Restaurants and Catering Services was the best performing sub-category (+15.5%) and Newspapers and Books the worst (-21.6%).
  • Consumer spending continues to hold up in the face of an inflationary storm, but this, we believe is supported by aggressive promotional activity, which has negative implications for retailer margins.

Other Retailing: +2.2% m/m

Within ‘Other Retailing’, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Toiletry Goods rose 3.3% m/m, making it the best performing sub-category overall.

The worst performer in ‘Other Retailing’ (and overall) was Newspapers and Books, down 4.5% m/m.

Eating Out:+1.4% m/m

Cafés, Restaurants and Catering Services (+1.5% m/m) slightly outperformed Takeaway Food (+1.3% m/m).

On a y/y basis, these two sub-categories were up 15.5% and 8.3% respectively, which we regard as largely driven by food inflation, but also indicative of a post-lockdown normalisation of spending habits.

Household Goods: +0.6% m/m

Electrical and Electronic Goods was the best performing sub-category in Household Goods, up 0.7% m/m, although this comes after two consecutive months of negative growth (down 0.1% in March and 1.5% in April).

The Hardware & Furniture sub-categories had moderate growth of 0.5% m/m each.

Food & Drink: +0.3% m/m

The worst performing sub-category in Food & Drink was Liquor (-1.1% m/m) with ‘Other Specialised Food’ the best performer (+0.6% m/m), followed by Supermarkets (up 0.5% m/m).

Department Stores: -0.5% m/m

The Department Stores category was the second weakest performing category on a m/m basis after being the second strongest performing category in April (+1.5% m/m).

There are no sub-categories within this category.

Clothing and Footwear: -0.6% m/m

Clothing (down 0.8% m/m) was weaker than Footwear and Other Personal Accessories (down 0.1% m/m).

Figure 1: Retail sales growth (m/m) %

Growth stocks have had a choppy ride since the onset of the pandemicSource: ABS, Morgans.

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