HOLIDAY trading over the Christmas and New Year period has so far received a guarded welcome from business operators.
The president of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, Peter Lubans, said the chamber would be putting out a survey later in the month but it seemed accommodation bookings had been quite good and although things had been ‘a little down as expected in line with the rest of the economy, Coffs Harbour has not suffered too badly’.
Christine Lubans has been retailing fashion in Coffs Harbour for 20 years through her Seasons boutiques and she said her figures for December 2010 would equal her December 2009 figures, but she was seeing a change in the pattern of post-Christmas retailing.
She said the media emphasis on Boxing Day sales was seeing a compression of shopping activity that had earlier stretched over the two weeks following Christmas.
“There are definitely people around but they are not in that easy-spending mood,” Mrs Lubans said.
“They are enjoying coffees and cakes and food and more relaxed family time.”
Park Beach Plaza manager Lorenz Beckett said he had seen some very big smiles on the faces of Park Beach Plaza retailers.
He said they were happy with the holiday trading, with a ‘fantastic’ week leading up to Christmas with very strong sales across the board, especially fashion and jewellery; ‘fantastic’ Boxing Day sales and nice weather encouraging tourists to stay on and go shopping.
“People left their Christmas shopping later than ever,” Mr Beckett said.
“It’s been a difficult year and an interesting year.”
“It is difficult to compare 2010 with 2009 because of all the Rudd bucks and the flood money (in 2009).”
He said Coffs Harbour had also benefited from Queensland’s misfortunes, picking up holiday visitors who would otherwise have continued northwards.
While some shoppers said they had abandoned the idea of shopping at Park Beach Plaza because they could not find a park, Mr Beckett said this was a Christmas shopping problem common to shopping centres across Australia.