Festive spending down
Lower South West businesses have taken a hit this year, with Christmas shoppers spending less in the region’s stores.
Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Kent Roberts said the economy had changed over the year and not the businesses.
“Businesses are down this year in comparison to last year,” he said.
“I do not think the shops are providing anything less or doing worse, the whole economy is just a bit slow at the moment.” He said in general things had been financially tighter this year due to increased rent costs and difficulties in obtaining bank loans.
“In past years Christmas has always been a time where businesses make money and sometimes this could save a business if they had been a little down financially over the rest of the year,” Mr Roberts said.
He said Christmas this year had increased turnover slightly, but not nearly as much as previous years’ festive seasons.
Mr Roberts also mentioned another reason store sales were down was due to increased online shopping.
“It is great for the consumer because they can find things at cheaper prices but usually online there are not the same overheads,” he said.
“They employ less people and do not have big rentals and insurances so the margins they can afford to get are less than what a shop with a visible frontage can charge.”
He said people are going to have to start shopping local or see more businesses close down in the next few years.
A few stores in the region have started to think about putting their businesses online to help combat this new way of shopping.
“I think local businesses may have to start heading in that direction,” Mr Roberts said.
“If they do end up closing it will have a big affect on the community in so many different ways.
“At the end of the day it comes down to more than just shopping local,” Mr Roberts said.