Fes­tive spend­ing down

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - News - Holly Thomp­son

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.

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