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ABS responds to 'Fly us to the moon say retailers of CPI that is out of this world' (The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 2010, pg 10, Business Day)

A retail challenge

Your story on retail data contained a colourful collection of anecdotes which show how varied and complex the retail landscape is ("Fly us to the moon say retailers of CPI that is out of this world", May 31).

Summarising this complex industry in a few figures is challenging. The Australian Bureau of Statistics retail survey collects data from a sample of over 3,000 businesses selected from across the range of retail activity to produce a statistically sound summary.

Well established and widely understood seasonal adjustment processes allow for many influences, including leap years and the timing of Easter. The impact of discounting is reflected in the data.

The bureau's data are a good basis for analysing retail activity.

Ian Ewing
Deputy Australian Statistician
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Belconnen (ACT)

Published 2 June 2010 (Sydney Morning Herald, pg 12)

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