Hannas Department Store employees (from left) Catherine Byrne, Paul Hanna and Robert Davy celebrate a strong Christmas trading period.
Hannas Department Store employees (from left) Catherine Byrne, Paul Hanna and Robert Davy celebrate a strong Christmas trading period. Bev Lacey

Retailers full of cheer

WITH only two more sleeps until Christmas, Toowoomba retailers are confident a last-minute splurge will ensure it is a merry time for them as well.

The retail sector has been battered from pillar to post in 2011. However, Anthony Hanna, from Hannas Department Store, believes the sector will bounce back in 2012.

"These days there are so many more shops and longer trading hours that you do not really get a Christmas rush anymore," Mr Hanna said.

"The retail sector has changed so much over the past few years, but we are happy with our situation at the moment."

Tough economic times and uncertainty has seen consumers tighten their purse strings throughout the course of the year.

"A lot of people in the community have been doing it tough this year. It has been a hard year for everyone," Mr Hanna said.

With the increasing popularity of online shopping, consumers now have a plethora of options when it comes to how and where they spend their money.

"Online shopping has had an effect on some of our product lines, but it has been very minimal," Mr Hanna said.

"We have been fortunate that we haven't seen anything that is of concern to us yet."

However, Mr Hanna said that the Christmas cheer had not been experienced by all.

"I have heard whispers around the traps that some retailers in particular are doing it very tough," he said.

Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce president Geoff McDonald said while consumers had been cautious, retailers were banking on a last-minute spend.

"Generally speaking it is pretty quiet everywhere and you can't deny that," Mr McDonald said.

"I think with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year it has allowed people the opportunity to do their shopping later than usual.

"Hopefully, consumers hit the shops for a last-minute spend today and tomorrow.

"At the end of the day people are certainly erring on the side of caution this year," he said.


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