South-west traders bank on bumper sales to offset triple-whammy

SOUTH-WEST  traders are hoping for bumper post-Christmas sales to counter the triple-whammy of  the Telstra communications outage, collapse of Banksia Financial Group and nervousness over Southern Securities investments.

Internet trading has also been cited as a factor in a tough lead-in to what is traditionally the busiest trading season of the year.

Shop operators are pinning their hopes on a late spending blitz to end the year on a positive trend.

Shopping centres were buzzing with activity during the weekend and on Monday with locals and tourists stocking up for Christmas Day.

“I don’t think we could have had a more unusual set of circumstances in the lead-up to Christmas,” Warrnambool City councillor and Liebig Street trader Brian Kelson told The Standard.

“There couldn’t have been more walls to get over.

“Telstra, Banksia and Southern Securities, all with their unique problems. The Christmas season is such an important time for retailers. There’s not a whole lot of business confidence out there.”

Cr Kelson and other traders in the region said there seemed to be a change in shopping trends, with less impulse buying and more focus on larger household goods.

“From now until the end of December will be very important,” Cr Kelson said.

“The long weekend before Christmas and trends to more internet sales have made it a very unusual trading pattern this year.” 

A major Portland trader said there was a late spending rush after a quiet lead-up, caused mainly by the November 22 Telstra exchange fire which affected the whole region for up to three weeks.

“We are hoping to end the month on a high note,” he said.

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