Retail sales reach new highs, but cost of business continues to bite

Australian retail sales remained at record levels in June with $34.2 billion spent in stores and online – an increase of 12% on a year ago and up 0.2% compared to May 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra cautioned that while sales volumes remain elevated, they are also linked to the higher consumer prices we’re seeing across the economy and not necessarily a full reflection of business performance.

“It’s an incredibly challenging environment for businesses right now, with a number of cost pressures associated with fuel, energy, supply chains and rent, along with labour cost increases and skill shortages that are preventing retailers from trading at their full potential,” Mr Zahra said.

“While retail sales have been at record levels for four straight months now, this is not an accurate picture of sector performance given the inflationary landscape businesses are trading in. Consumers are paying more for everyday items, while at the same time, business operating costs have increased significantly.

“We also know that consumers are feeling anxious with the rising cost of living and interest rates and that is likely to impact spending in the coming months as mortgage repayments increase, and as Australians start to tighten their household budgets.”

Retail category performance


(JUNE 2022 v JUNE 2021)


 Food retailing +4%
Household goods +9.3%
Clothing, footwear and personal accessories +26.5%
Department stores +15.4%
Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food +26.3%
Other retailing +16.8%
Total retail +12%


State and territory performance


(JUNE 2022 v JUNE 2021)


NSW +11.1%
Victoria +16.3%
Queensland +11.6%
Western Australia +10%
South Australia +9.9%
ACT +4.5%
NT +5.4%
Tasmania +6.7%
All states and territories 12%


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About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the oldest, largest and most diverse national retail body, representing a $400 billion sector that employs 1.3 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 120,000 retail shop fronts and online stores, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies our independent, national and international retail community. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive member benefits and more, visit



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