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8501.0.55.005 - Information paper: Changes to the Dissemination of Retail Trade Statistics, January 2009  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2009   
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INTRODUCTION

This information paper describes changes that will be made to Retail Trade statistics following the reinstatement of a 'full' sample each month. The paper briefly sets out:

  • the background to the changes
  • the timing of the changes
  • the content of the revised monthly publication including the data that will be available on the ABS website
  • the availability of detailed industry by state monthly data for the July to October 2008 reference months
  • the impact of the changes on seasonal adjustment.


BACKGROUND

In July 2008 the Australian Bureau of Statistics introduced changes to the scope, sample size and collection methodology of the Retail Business Survey. These changes involved:
  • Hotels and licensed clubs, Video hire outlets and Hairdressing and beauty salons being excluded from the survey
  • the monthly sample size being reduced by 59%
  • a 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme being implemented for collecting data from the sampled units.

As a result of these changes, the monthly publication Retail Trade Trends, Australia (cat. no. 8501.0) only included tables with current price trend estimates for Australia, states and industries from the July 2008 issue. For analytical purposes, broad level current price seasonally adjusted and original estimates were available from time series spreadsheets on the ABS website. Monthly state by industry estimates and detailed industry estimates were not available.

A separate quarterly publication, Retail Trade Quarterly Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 8502.0) was introduced which included quarterly current price and chain volume measures in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms. More detailed quarterly current price state by industry estimates were available from time series spreadsheets. For a full explanation of these changes see the feature article in the July 2008 issue of Retail Trade Trends, Australia.

On 4 November 2008, the Australian Statistician announced that the 'full' monthly Retail Trade sample would be reinstated. Associated with this, the 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme will be terminated. However, the industries excluded from the survey from July 2008 will continue to be excluded ie Hotels and licensed clubs, Video hire outlets and Hairdressing and beauty salons.


TIMING

Collection of data from the reinstated sample commenced with the November 2008 reference month. However, changes to outputs will occur progressively over several months.

The October reference month was collected on the basis of the 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme and November was collected on a 'full' sample basis. As a result, movements between October and November 2008 include part of the increased volatility inherent in the 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme. Therefore, the November 2008 issue of Retail Trade Trends, Australia continued to only present broad level trend estimates in the publication.

The December 2008 issue of Retail Trade Trends, Australia, to be released on 4 February 2009, will revert to the previous title of Retail Trade, Australia and will contain detailed monthly current price trend, seasonally adjusted and original estimates.

Quarterly chain volume measures will be included in the December quarter 2008 issue of Retail Trade Quarterly Indicators, Australia to be released on 18 February 2009. This will be the last issue of that publication. Quarterly chain volume measures will be included in Retail Trade, Australia from the March 2009 issue.


CONTENT OF THE REVISED MONTHLY PUBLICATION

The revised monthly publication will contain similar content to the current quarterly publication, Retail Trade Quarterly Indicators, Australia, except that the current price tables will present monthly rather than quarterly data.

The publication tables to be included in Retail Trade, Australia are shown in table 1.

Table 1. Retail Trade, Australia publication tables

Table No.
Period
Value
Series type
Level of detail
Data type

1
Monthly
Current price
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
Six industry groups
Level
2
Monthly
Current price
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
Six industry groups
% change preceding month
3
Monthly
Current price
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
State
Level
4
Monthly
Current price
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
State
% change preceding month
5
Quarterly
Chain volume measures
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
Six industry groups
Level
6
Quarterly
Chain volume measures
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
Six industry groups
% change preceding month
7
Quarterly
Chain volume measures
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
State
Level
8
Quarterly
Chain volume measures
Original, seasonally adjusted & trend
State
% change preceding month


The publication tables above will also be available in spreadsheet format from the Downloads tab of the publication on the ABS website. In addition, the tables listed in table 2 will be available in spreadsheet format.

Publication tables 1 to 4 and spreadsheet tables 9 to 13 will be included from the December 2008 issue of Retail Trade, Australia with tables 5 to 8 included from the from the March 2009 issue.

Table 2. Retail Trade, Australia additional spreadsheet tables

Table No.
Period
Value
Series type
Level of detail
Data type

9
Monthly
Current price
Original
All series (ie State by 15 industry subgroups)
Level
10
Monthly
Current price
Seasonally adjusted
All series (ie State by 15 industry subgroups)
Level
11
Monthly
Current price
Trend
All series (ie State by 15 industry subgroups)
Level
12
Monthly
Current price
Original
Industry groups by completely enumerated and sample sectors
Level
13
Monthly
Current price
Original
State by completely enumerated and sample sectors
Level


Shells for the time series spreadsheets can be accessed via the Downloads tab of this information paper.

A correspondence between the current and proposed spreadsheet identifiers is also available from the Downloads tab.


AVAILABILITY OF DETAILED INDUSTRY BY STATE DATA

The 'one-in, two-out' sampling scheme produced detailed industry by state data of sufficient accuracy to release on a quarterly basis. However, on a monthly basis these detailed estimates were too volatile to release. As a result, the detailed industry by state monthly estimates for the July to October 2008 reference months were not produced. When changes are made to Retail Trade, Australia from the December 2008 issue, these estimates will be missing from the industry by state time series. The broader level state and industry estimates will continue to be available for this period.

The ABS will model the detailed estimates for the July to October 2008 reference months and make them available with the March 2009 issue of Retail Trade, Australia.

Detailed industry by state monthly estimates in original and seasonally terms from the November 2008 reference month onwards will be released each month. However, the trend series will be suppressed until the modelled detailed estimates for the July to October 2008 reference months are released.


SEASONAL ADJUSTMENT

With the reinstatement of the 'full' retail sample, the seasonally adjusted series were reanalysed. From the November 2008 issue, the seasonal adjustment of monthly Retail trade statistics involves direct seasonal adjustment at the industry sub-group level using forward seasonal factors with broader level industry group totals derived from the more detailed sub-group series. This is the method used prior to July 2008.

Forward factors are being used to avoid the seasonal factors being distorted by the increased volatility in the original series from July to October 2008. With the use of forward factors the seasonally adjusted series will not be revised in future issues unless the original series is revised.

Concurrent seasonal adjustment will be resumed with the July 2009 issue of Retail Trade, Australia.


FUTURE CHANGES

The next major change planned for Retail Trade statistics is the introduction of the 2006 version of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (cat. no. 1292.0). This is scheduled to occur with the July 2009 reference month. Further details will be advised in Retail Trade, Australia from the April 2009 issue onwards.


CONTACT

If you have any queries about the changes described in this paper please contact Rod Cowie on <rod.cowie@abs.gov.au> or (02) 6252 6720.


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