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One thing Aussies still buy in price hike crisis

Australians are buying big at cafes and on takeaway food despite cost of living pressures that have kept retail spending down.
Australians are buying big at cafes and on takeaway food despite cost of living pressures that have kept retail spending down.

Australians are buying big at cafes and on takeaway food despite the cost of living pressures that have kept retail spending down.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday revealed spending on food was up 13 per cent year on year, despite a modest drop off in the last month.

The $12.4 million fall in sales at restaurants and takeaway outlets in April is the first following 13 straight months of rises - and represents a drop of only 0.02 per cent in the $5.25 billion total spend.

The revelation comes as the agency reveals its monthly retail report which found that overall spending continued to slump in 2023.

ABS head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said the slowdown in retail spending seen since the start of the year continued in April.

“Retail turnover has plateaued over the last six months as consumers spent less on discretionary goods in response to cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rates,” Mr Dorber said.

FAST FOOD BILL
The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday revealed that spending on food was up 13 per cent from last year, despite a modest drop off. Picture: David Mariuz

“Spending was again soft in April but was boosted by increased spending on winter clothing in response to cooler and wetter than average weather across the country .

“The modest fall in food-related spending comes after a period of consistent growth driven largely by high food inflation. Spending has also been boosted by the return of large-scale sporting and cultural events.”

In total, Australians spent more than $35 billion in April 2023, compared to just over $30 billion in the same month last year.

Consumers spent more than $5 billion at cafes and restaurants, $3 billion on clothing, and $1.9 billion at department stores.

Results were mixed across the states and territories with four falls and three rises, while the Northern Territory remained unchanged.

HOUSEHOLD SPENDING
In total, Australians spent more than $35 billion in April 2023, compared to just over $30 billion in the same month last year.. Picture: Gaye Gerard.

Tasmania recorded the largest drop in sales of 1.5 per cent, followed by falls in NSW, Victoria, and the ACT.

The largest rise was recorded in Western Australia which record a one per cent rise, followed by smaller rises in QLD and South Australia.

“Turnover is at a record level in South Australia following three straight rises of 0.6 per cent,” Mr Dorber said.

“It has been boosted by the inaugural AFL Gather Round and LIV Golf Adelaide tournament this month.”

The ABS will release its next spending report in June.