Aussie retailers love Albo’s Big Australia


On Friday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data on retail sales volumes for the September quarter, which posted a 0.2% rise, beating economists’ expectations of a 0.2% fall:

Retail sales volumes

Source: Justin Fabo (Macquarie Group)

NSW (1.3%) and Victoria (1.2%), which have received the lion’s share of the record net overseas migration (NOM), reported strong quarterly increases in sales.

Over the year, retail sales volumes fell by 1.7% in seasonally adjusted terms.


When adjusted for the circa 0.7% population growth over the September quarter and the 2.7% population growth year-on-year, Australian retail sales volumes actually fell by around 0.5% over the quarter and by more than 4% year-on-year.

The next chart from Justin Fabo from Macquarie Group illustrates the impact that Australia’s unprecedented population growth is having on Australian retail sales:

Retail sales volumes breakdown

If not for the Albanese government’s record NOM, which saw around 500,000 net migrants flood Australia in 2022-23, retailers would be suffering a deep recession.

Australian historical NOM

The above is indicative of the “burnout economy” described by Tarric Brooker.


The RBA’s aggressive interest rate hikes have worked to reduce individual consumption, with households doing it tough and cutting back.

But the sheer force of record population growth of more than 600,000 people, mostly via NOM, is lifting aggregate demand across the economy, which will likely force the RBA to pump the brake harder and hike again.

We have a federal government that is irresponsibly working against the RBA and pushing inflation higher via record levels of immigration-fueled population growth.


And the two-thirds of Australians who either rent or have a mortgage are paying the direct price of Labor’s incompetence.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.