Ka-chingle all the way for retailers
COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
THE smiles on the faces of Delilah-Grace and Tayleigh are as bright as the Christmas lights that will adorn the Riverbank from tomorrow.
The West End Brewery’s Christmas Riverbank Display brings joy to thousands of South Australian families – including Delilah-Grace, 2, and her mother Jaime Carr, and Tayleigh, 3, and her mother Krystal White – every year.
Enhanced LED lighting has been installed on one of the oldest structures – the ferris wheel – and additional lighting will increase brightness.
The display is on from 4pm to midnight until January 1. RETAILERS are hoping for a busier-than-usual Christmas spending splurge as South Australians take advantage of a renewed confidence in our economy.
Industry figures forecast shoppers will spend tens of millions more dollars – eventually hitting $3.4 billion, a 3.1 per cent increase on last year.
Retail experts say the boost, which is above the national average of 2.9 per cent, comes amid fresh optimism in business and consumer confidence.
Today is the first day of extended opening hours ahead of the festive season. Trading starts from 9am – two hours earlier – while some centres will close later over the coming weeks.
It follows bitter political debate about deregulating trading hours after the new Liberal Government failed in a bid to change retail laws.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said that spending was forecast to exceed $3.4 billion this year on the back of an improving economy following strong sector growth over the past six months.
ARA figures show SA consumers spent $3.32 billion in the lead-up to Christmas last year. Nationally, Australians will spend $51.4 billion in the weeks before Christmas.
“It’s fair to say there’s a reasonable amount of confidence in SA and we’re seeing that reflected in retail figures,’’ Mr Zimmerman said. “We have seen very successful trading in the last six to seven months since the (state) election.”
Retailers say a drop in fuel prices, good weather and a series of mass-discounting days have provided the perfect runup to Christmas for shoppers and stores alike.
Separate research by accounting giant Deloitte has found four in five retailers expect higher Christmas sales this year, especially online.
With just 23 shopping days left until Christmas, our largest shopping centres were braced for a busy festive season.
Rundle Mall Management Authority general manager Johanna Williams said while December was traditionally its busiest month, traders predicted even busier conditions.
“We’re expecting that will translate to our precinct,’’ she said. “Certainly activity has been up since … last week as shoppers turned out in force to get an early start on their Christmas shopping. That’s expected to continue through to the last-minute rush.”
Westfield spokeswoman Lucy Andolfatto predicted a flood of customers through shopping complexes.
“Christmas is our busiest time of year and we’re expecting hundreds of thousands of people over the coming weeks shopping for gifts, fresh food and gift cards, especially in the last few days before Christmas Day,’’ she said.
“To help with this, we’ll be opening earlier and closing later from (today), offering flexibility and convenience for customers who are looking to shop at a time that suits them best.”