CBD re­tail­ers re­main op­ti­mistic

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

Bun­bury re­tail­ers are re­main­ing op­ti­mistic about Christ­mas trade with last minute shop­pers en­cour­aged to think lo­cal.

Bun­bury Geographe Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Sea­ward said trade had not been “spec­tac­u­lar” but there was a “feel­ing of op­ti­mism around”.

“I don’t think peo­ple’s dis­pos­able in­come has in­creased this year in any way, shape or form so peo­ple are be­ing care­ful with their pur­chase, they’re not go­ing crazy,” Mr Sea­ward said.

“But that’s what you’d ex­pect in the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment.

“It hasn’t been spec­tac­u­lar, but it’s cer­tainly look­ing up.”

There has been a vis­i­ble in­crease in traf­fic and vis­i­tors to the CBD and Mr Sea­ward cred­ited the ef­forts of Bun­bury City Coun­cil and re­tail­ers.

“The city is look­ing pretty good at the mo­ment, it’s lovely and has been cleaned up by the coun­cil and a cou­ple new shops have opened up, it’s great,” he said.

Life & Soul Bou­tique own­ers Shel­ley Bur­rows and Sally Hutchin­son agreed say­ing there was a “bet­ter vibe” in the CBD.

“Our cus­tomer num­bers have been good this Christ­mas trade which is re­flected in an in­crease of 5 per cent in sales from this time last year,” Mrs Bur­rows said.

“We think that good qual­ity cus­tomer ser­vice com­bined with higher stock level has con­trib­uted along with the bet­ter vibe within our street.”

Sports­ma­rine owner Paul Col­lett said trade had been “patchy” but he ex­pected “a bit” of a pick-up in the last minute rush.

“I think there’ll prob­a­bly be a bit . . . the last 12 months – I’ve been here over 40 years – it’s the hard­est it’s been in the last 25 years def­i­nitely,” Mr Col­lett said.

He said he be­lieved there were sev­eral chal­lenges re­tail­ers faced in­clud­ing on­line com­pe­ti­tion and a lack of con­fi­dence in the econ­omy.

“I don’t think it’s just Bun­bury, it’s Aus­tralia-wide,” he said.

Mr Sea­ward said he en­cour­aged shop­pers to think lo­cal “ev­ery time” as peo­ple started to plan their last minute shop­ping.

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