Spending levels boom as restrictions ease: CBA

Fashionable woman wearing protective face mask shopping clothes in reopen retail shopping store. New normal lifestyle during corona virus pandemic

As restrictions lift around the country spending levels are rising to pre-lockdown levels, with spending across the country up 20 per cent during the week to 29 October compared to the same period of 2019.

Commonwealth Bank chief economist Stephen Halmarick said in-store purchases and spending on services both ticked higher for the week, though there has not been a corresponding drop in demand for online purchases or goods.

“This is a pleasing indicator of underlying economic strength as consumers who have delayed their purchases during lockdown are now rushing back to the market,” Halmarick said.

“We are seeing the economic engine rev higher again as people get out and about, catching up on lost time with friends and family.”

Spending in New South Wales rose 23.3 per cent as the state’s vaccinated enjoyed new freedoms, while Victoria’s spending rose 10 per cent compared to 2019 in anticipation of its own re-opening.

Tasmania, the ACT, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory also saw sales growth, while South Australia saw them slip.

The report doesn’t doesn’t include the figures from Victorian retail’s first week of in-person trading, which Halmarick notes will lead next week’s report to signify an even larger jump – especially considering the week led up to the Melbourne Cup.

“We anticipate that translate into stronger spending on clothing, footwear and general retail in next week’s report, as it had done in NSW as lockdown ended,” Halmarick said.

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside Retail