Queensland spending continues to slump amid price pinch: ABS report

Queenslanders are spending up at cafes and on takeaway food despite the cost of living pressures which have kept retail spending down.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday revealed spending on food across the country 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.

Camera IconThe Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday revealed that spending on food was up 13 per cent from last year, despite a modest drop off. David Mariuz Credit: News Corp Australia

“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.

Queenslanders forked out $7.2 billion at the checkout in April and more than $28.6 billion for the year so far.

That figure represents a $100 million increase from the same time last year and an almost $1 billion increase from April 2020.

Spending slumped throughout the state from 2020 through to mid-2022 when it began to climb once more.

Camera IconIn total, Australians spent more than $35 billion in April 2023, compared to just over $30 billion in the same month last year. Gaye Gerard. Credit: News Corp Australia

Despite post-pandemic growth, Queensland recorded one of the largest month-on-month drop offs, falling from 1.1 per cent growth to just 0.1 per cent.

Spending in the Sunshine State has largely matched countrywide trends in 2023, with marginal change month-on-month this year.

In Victoria, consumers spent just over $9 billion in April 2023, while residents in NSW spent more than $11 billion.

Those states recorded modest drop offs in spending since March 2023, while Tasmania recorded a substantial fall of 1.5 per cent.

In April, consumers nationwide spent more than $5 billion at cafes or restaurants, $3 billion on clothing, and $1.9 billion at department stores.

The ABS will release its next spending report in June.

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