Businesses in Sydney and Melbourne’s CBDs welcomed more customers back through their doors last week, with sales up 9 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, compared to the prior week, according to CBA merchant terminal data*.

Despite major weather conditions on Australia’s east coast, spending patterns in Melbourne and Sydney CBDs have experienced an increase, particularly across retail businesses. Week on week, Sydney CBD businesses saw a 30 per cent jump in retail sales and Melbourne CBD businesses saw a 31 per cent increase.

This activity is in line with the latest CommBank Household Spending Intentions Index for February which also shows Australians are back on the move following the end of COVID restrictions. Transport spending intentions surged 11 percent in the month, driven by higher fuel prices and increased spending on taxis, parking lots, car washes, freight and trucking services.

CBA Group Executive, Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle said he was encouraged by the positive signs workers and shoppers were supporting their CBD-based businesses but was cautious this business activity would be impacted by current weather conditions.

“It is encouraging to see spending in Australia’s largest capital cities on the up and we hope to see this trend continue as more people start coming back into city centres over the coming weeks and months,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

“We know current weather conditions will impact this activity in the CBDs, especially as Sydney residents and commuters navigate the flash flooding we’ve seen over the past few days.

And of course it is a different story in Brisbane’s CBD with many businesses still closed and focussed on recovery and clean-up so they can repair and reopen.

“More broadly, we know areas across Queensland and New South Wales will continue to navigate the devastating impacts of major flooding for the foreseeable future, and for those customers we are here to help,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

“We encourage our business customers to reach out to us, when they are ready to do so, to discuss their individual circumstances and what might be suitable for their needs.”

Where Sydneysiders were spending their money in the CBD:

  • Florists (up 55 per cent)
  • Stationary and office supplies (up 55 per cent)
  • Cosmetic stores (up 38 per cent)
  • Clothing alterations services (up 29 per cent)
  • Bars and pubs up (up 15 per cent)

Where Melbournians were spending in the CBD:

  • Jewellery and watch stores (up 65 per cent)
  • Electronic sales (up 30 per cent)
  • Fast food restaurants (up 11 per cent)
  • Gifts, cards and novelty stores (up 10 per cent)
  • Beauty and barber shops (up 7 per cent)

Mr Vacy-Lyle said CBA had a range of measures available for business customers who have been impacted by the flooding in Queensland and NSW, including loan deferrals and merchant fee waivers.

For further information about CBA’s Emergency Assistance and for links to other support visit


* Data based on Sydney CBD (postcode 2000) and Melbourne CBD (postcode 3000) CBA merchants data (card present only) from 20-26 February 2022 (inclusive) compared with 27 February-5 March 2022 (inclusive).