A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Strong November retail sales in small business newsagencies

I am grateful to the 56 newsagents who quickly shared their November 2021 vs. November 2019 sales results so I could compare and see how the channel appears to be faring this year. the dataset is a mix of businesses, city and country, in marketing groups and not. All bar two were not in major capital city shopping centres.

I compared 2021 with 2019 so as to check-in with pre-Covid trading and now, with relatively open retail settings.

After comparing data from all 56 businesses here are the averages for business performance measurement points and categories, comparing 2021 with 2019:

  • Revenue: Up 27%.
  • Sales count: Down 6%.
  • Basket value: Up 43%.
  • Items per basket: Up 10%.
  • Average item value: Up 38%.
  • Greeting card revenue: Up 24%.
  • Magazines unit sales: Down 15%.
  • Toy revenue: Up 45%.
  • Gift revenue: Up 30%.
  • Stationery revenue: Up 9%.

There are other categories but I’m not reporting them here as the dataset is small. For example, jewellery. I have data for five businesses and the growth is excellent, but the numbers are too small. Similar niche categories are: jigsaws,  calendars, baby, homewares and garden … all delivering excellent results.

Several businesses reported no revenue growth and several others with extraordinary growth.

It is in the average item value and items per basket where we see the value for a business in that the value compounds. Now, if you can get more shoppers returning, that compounds further.

Of particular interest is the ratio of gift revenue to cards. The goal here now is $3 to $1. Some were at $.5 to $1 and others at $10 to $1. The gap in performance is considerable. Any newsagency business can sustain excellent gift revenue. I have seen this in small towns of around 1,000 people in the area through to capital city businesses. When it comes to gift revenue, population size is not the mot important factor, your range choices and in-store engagement are.

Overall, this benchmark is showing excellent results – good growth not only in revenue but good growth in overall business GP%. This is vital as selling higher GP% items sets the business to be able to sustain a revenue decline without profit decline.

The newsagency channel is healthy. The average newsagency is reporting a revenue surge and a GP surge. Newsagents have every right to be happy. Well done to everyone involved.

I own and run three newsagencies. Over the years I have had three others. I own newsXpress, the newsagency marketing group.

Footnote: I usually do newsagency sales benchmark studies comparing 3 and 6 month periods. 1 month is too small to call a tree on. However, it does provide an insight that can be useful not only in terms of performance but also in terms of transition, and that is evident in the data from this benchmark. More newsagents are evolving outside the lanes traditional to newsagency businesses.

Newsagency benchmark

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