We have completed our latest retail sales benchmark study for newsagents and released the results. This is a considerable body of work done for small business newsagents and businesses that supply them.

The analysis is something we have done for almost 20 years. We hope you find it useful.

Newsagency sales benchmark study results: July -October 2020 vs. 2019

Based on comprehensive sales data for July through September 2020 with data from 2019 from 128 newsagency businesses across Australia in city and country locations, high street and mall, the latest newsagency sales benchmark study is revealing as to the impact of Covid on our channel and the value of location.

  • Covid restrictions have benefited many newsagency businesses.
  • High street locations have fared better than shopping mall locations.
  • Regional Australia has performed better that capital city Australia.
  • Diversification of product mix is key to traffic generation.
  • Magazines are back on their pre-Covid trajectory.
  • There are winners and losers.

I have data from a mix of branded and un-branded newsagencies as well as a mix of states and territories in the data set.

Given the extraordinary gap in performance, I share the results for different cohorts, because reporting them as one dataset does not make sense this quarter.

Victorian newsagencies.

Victorian newsagencies have had a good second Covid lockdown. Their newspaper, magazine and lottery products performance is better than other states, because of the lockdown I think.

All but one Victorian high street business I have data for is up on on 2019. The biggest increase relates to average sale value, this has spiked considerably, as you may expect. The categories that have performed best in Victoria this quarter in terms of year on year growth are: cards, gifts, plush, jigsaws, home decor and games.

Even though the data is up to September 30, 2020, it is interesting to see Christmas doing so well in Victorian businesses that had it out. This augurs well for the season.

All Victorian shopping centre businesses are down. Shopping centres are in for a rough few years I think.

Now, outside of Victoria…

Regional high street businesses.

  • Transaction count change: up 3%.
  • Revenue change: up 7%.
  • Basket size change: up 13%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 11%.
  • Magazine unit sales: down 9%.
  • Card revenue: up 7%.
  • Stationery revenue:  down 8%.
  • Gift revenue: up 19%. 80% of businesses report selling gifts.
  • Toy revenue: up 11%. 10% of businesses report selling toys.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 43%. 25% of businesses report selling puzzles.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 26%.
  • Lottery revenue:  up 7%.

City high street newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: up 1%.
  • Revenue change: up 5%.
  • Basket size change: up 9%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 8%.
  • Magazine unit sales: down 9%.
  • Card revenue: up 6%.
  • Stationery revenue:  down 8%.
  • Gift revenue: up 9%.
  • Toy revenue: up 11%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 60%.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 28%.
  • Lottery revenue:  up 4%.

Regional shopping centre businesses.

I do not have enough businesses in this group to safely report.

City shopping centre based newsagencies.

  • Transaction count change: down 22%.
  • Revenue change: down 31%.
  • Basket size change: up 2%.
  • Newspaper unit sales: down 13%.
  • Magazine unit sales: down 11%.
  • Card revenue: up 4%.
  • Stationery revenue:  down 17%.
  • Gift revenue: up 11%.
  • Toy revenue: up 9%.
  • Puzzle revenue: up 22%.
  • Instant lottery revenue: up 28%.
  • Lottery revenue:  up 5%.

Note. 

These are averages. The gap between those doing well and those not doing well is considerable. It is important that newsagents look at their own data as the most important competitor they have is themselves. The trading period from the past against which you compare results is your competitor. Look at those numbers more carefully than you look at these benchmark results.

What have we learned from the last 8 months?

  • High street retail fares better than mall based retail.
  • Diversification in newsagency product offering drives better shopper visit efficiency.
  • Having an online presence is vital.
  • People want to connect – this is one reason cards are doing so well.
  • Postable gifts are selling well.
  • Safe buying is key.

I am grateful to all newsagents who shared their data for inclusion in this study.

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