Melburnians celebrate freedom with a haircut and a pint



Melbourne has bounced out of easing COVID restrictions, with $76.9 million spent from Friday to Sunday at NAB merchant terminals – up 21% when compared to the same period the week prior.

The big winners were beauty shops and restaurants which includes bars and pubs, up 2,430% and 94% respectively versus the previous week.

Victorian restaurateur Jacqui Poulier runs two Greek restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula – Alatonero and Lorida – and has had to switch the phones off due to the huge influx of calls from patrons wanting to make a booking.

“This weekend the phone has run hot with people trying to book a table – so for our soft opening we decided to offer walk-ins only so customers could come in without a booking,” Ms Poulier said.

“We’re still not operating at full capacity so we’re struggling to keep up with demand as customers flock back for their first sit down meal in 77 days.

“I’m looking forward to having more of my staff vaccinated so we can open at a higher capacity. With eased restrictions being pushed forward, everybody is looking to book for Melbourne Cup weekend. People are emailing us begging to make a booking.”

NAB Group Executive for Business and Private Bank, Andrew Irvine, said it was fantastic to see the state exit lockdown earlier than first predicted, a milestone achieved through vaccinations.

“Thanks to rising vaccination rates, we’re starting to see a real path out of this pandemic. We’ve achieved 70% double dosed with 80% not too far away which will bring even more freedoms for Victorians and business owners,” Mr Irvine said.

“Melbourne is absolutely buzzing, and small businesses are relishing every moment. We’ve seen a strong three days’ trade in Victoria with $113 going through NAB’s merchant terminals from Friday to Sunday.

“Our customers and bankers are telling us they’re just warming up – the bounce back will be strong right through the holiday period and beyond.

“The optimism is contagious, with huge demand for bookings in restaurants and long overdue haircuts. Many venues are booked solid which is another sign the bounce back will be fast.”

Anyone who needs support from the impacts of COVID-19 can find more information on support available here.

Support options include the NAB Business Recovery Loan, designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SME) that have been hit hard by the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The loan is provided as part of the Federal Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

Notes to the Editor:

NAB merchant data – weekly comparison (22-24 Oct-2021 vs 15- 17 Oct-2021)

  • Overall, in Melbourne Metro $ spend grew by 21% ($13.2m) and transactions grew by 17% – totalling $76.9M
    Strongest industry performers in Melbourne Metro were:

  • Overall, in Victoria $ spend grew by 14% ($14.1m) and transactions grew by 12% – totalling $113M
    Strongest industry performers in Victoria were:

  • NAB merchant terminal market share is approximately 20%

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