Lead-up to Christmas an early present for retailers
BUSINESSES should have extra in their Christmas stockings this year, with this year's sales up on the 2016 period according to the region's retailers.
PC Place owner Nick Green said the past few weeks had been "crazy”, a trend he hoped would not stop with the big day so close.
"It will be interesting to see how Thursday and Friday are,” Mr Green said.
There had been no clear trend in customers, he said, with games and equipment selling with equal fervour.
And as a store which would be closed on Saturday and Sunday, he had advice for those who chose to leave their shopping until the very last minute.
"Make sure (the stores) are going to be there,” he said.
Toyworld and Twiga Books co-owner Roger Broadley was more reserved about how the silly season sales had been, but agreed there was improvement.
"It's been marginally better than last year,” Mr Broadley said.
This year, several factors had had an effect.
This was the first time Toyworld had really felt the impact of online shopping, Mr Broadley said.
Then there was the challenge posed by other financial needs.
"People just don't have money to spend because they're worried about electricity prices,” Mr Broadley said.
He said the heat was also causing people to avoid going outdoors, which gave air-conditioned shopping centres the upper hand on Mary St traders.
With their busiest day traditionally on December 23, he hoped there was still some retail life left in the next few days.
"I'd like a big rush but I'm not expecting it,” he said.
As assistant manager of Prouds the Jewellers, Rebecca Cross agreed that retail sales were singing.
"It's been busier than last year,” Ms Cross said.
"I reckon on the weekend we're going to get smashed.”
One trend which she noted was that young people had put up a stronger than usual showing.
She also advised people to get in early with their shopping - for the sanity of more than just themselves.
"Don't leave it until the last minute,” she said.
"We'd like to go home.”