While bankers, builders and stock-brokers struggle in the economic downturn, there is always someone else out there to profit from other people’s misery. Although many are tightening the proverbial purse strings, we can’t stop spending all together. So if our hard-earned isn’t being spent on new cars or luxury holidays, where is it going? We look at some of the industries that are profiting from the economic crisis.

Beer. According to the Courier Mail, a 30-year study shows beer sales survive economic downturns well, with both Foster’s and Lion-Nathan confirming that sales have been largely unaffected, while Coopers tell The Age that sales of their home brew kits — which allow punters to save money by brewing their own ale at home — have been boosted by the crisis.

Cheap food. Pricier cafes and restaurants are suffering, but we have to get our food from somewhere, and supermarkets and take-away retailers are reaping the benefits of consumers looking for a cheaper feed. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a rise in supermarket sales of 3.4 per cent, while Dominos Pizza’s reporting profits and sales “ahead of expectations” according to SmartCompany. In the US, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese sales have grown by 20 per cent in the last quarter.

“Value”. Much like with food sales, stores that are perceived to offer ‘value’ have seen a boom. Super Cheap Auto have seen a 12% sales lift, says The Age, while Westfield report that their JB Hi-Fi, Priceline, Big W and Target stores have seen a 7.3 per cent growth, and Centro reporting a 4.3 per cent rise in sales at their discount stores.

Bicycles. Although possibly more reflective of longer-term petrol price increases, bicycle sales continue their rise, according to the Courier Mail and Bicycle Industries Australia, with several large businesses now moving into the bike industry.

Caravan parks. The RACV tell The Advocate that more Victorians are reporting that they will be holidaying within their own state this Christmas, while some Queensland caravan parks are reporting a 20 per cent increase in bookings and The Age also predicts an increase in caravanning and camping holidays, although the tourism industry overall is expected to take a big hit.

Peter Fray

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