Friday on our mind, as CBD spending overcomes slow start

Friday on our mind, as CBD spending overcomes slow start

Workers who returned to the office in Melbourne’s CBD last week spent much more freely on food and drink than in the city’s beleaguered retail stores, fresh data shows, with baked goods by far the fastest-moving items.

Point of sale data from NAB shows a 5 per cent increase in weekday retail spending between Monday and Friday last week after the state government ended its work from home recommendation and removed indoor mask mandates.

John Coburn, left, owner of The Cobblers Last and cobbler Harrison Canton said there were definitely more people around. Credit:Joe Armao

But restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues saw turnover lift by 10 per cent across the week. Friday was the busiest day at the tills as alcohol sales in the city rose 19 per cent on the previous week and baked goods were up 117 per cent.

The figures from the NAB, which has about 20 per cent of the credit debit card market, shows a slow start on Monday with just 14 per cent of the week’s spending on that day and gradually building to Friday, when nearly a third of spending was done.

The result will encourage the hospitality sector, where there had been concerns that the emerging pattern of employees preferring to work from home on Mondays and Fridays would hit one of the week’s busiest trading days.

NAB, which had about 10,000 city-based workers before the pandemic, has been a vocal proponent of a swift return to the office, and the bank’s business and private banking executive Andrew Irvine took an upbeat view of the week’s trading figures.

“Not only are we seeing the excitement of people connecting after such a long time, but businesses are coming back to life”, Mr Irvine said.

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