Eating out in threadbare clothes

Retail sales for January are out and show a 0.3% seasonally adjusted rise, which equates roughly to the levels of wage growth:

However, the trend still looks pretty sick:

And the state by state breakup shows that the big states continue to struggle and pretty seriously too:

Over longer time frames the pictures is slightly better but not much:

When we split by sub category, it starts to get downright ugly, with eating out dominating the month’s growth, and everyone else in the dirt. We’ll surrender our Thai meals last even if it means wearing clothes full of holes:

Again, over a longer time frame it is a bit better but not much:

After two rate cuts, this report does not encourage a reappraisal of retail stocks.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.


  1. Not at all suprising that restaurants, cafes and takeaway are the only retail sub-categories holding up – after all, you can’t use the strong $AU to buy your pizza online direct from Italy.

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Seriously, I’m happy to keep wearing old clothes if it means I keep my coffees, take aways (solid and liquid) and occassional cafe / cheap eats visits.

    • +10
      I buy clothes when I’m visiting Singapore. More choice, more brands and significantly cheaper

      • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

        +100. We are saving up for our next trip. Last time around we went with empty suitcases and came back with bulging ones. You can even claim the Sing GST if you are prepared to go to the airport early…

  3. Further proof that Aussies love their ‘comfort foods’ even in an economic downturn.

    We didn’t earn the ‘most obese nation in the world’ title for nothing.

    • Did we take the title in the end? Cool, I thought we had a ways to go yet to overtake the US…

      Let’s have a cake to celebrate.

      Agreed though, we all generally love comfort foods but I would still wager that there will be some winners and losers in this pack too as people battle changing perceptions of value and affordability.

  4. Actually, I wonder if this is attached to something else altogether – an observation that the last 4 – 5 years of fashion have been simply static. Where you can look at a 15 year old photo or video and think “what were they thinking?”, you can’t differentiate quite so much with 5 years ago. Some might say this is an ongoing cycle, but consider 97 vs 92, 92 vs 87, etc.

    Did the Great Recession kill the cheap fashion churn too?!

  5. ASX 300 Consumer durables and Apparel gave a false buy on long term MACD (170, 150, 20) in October and has now given another buy signal. Coppock appears to be flattening (falling more slowly) below zero, although it is really an index indicator).

    If Coppock gives a buy it indicates a likely buy for the medium term (for indices anyway).

    Lets review the investment prospects speculation in 6 months.

    (I use free version of Incredible Charts. My analysis of 15 Coppock signals since 1984 for All Ords is at:

  6. Maybe part of the restaurant resilience is substituting cheap luxuries for expensive ones in a downturn.