Bendigo traders inundated as shoppers hunt bargains.

A difficult year for Bendigo retailers is looking up after a “cracking” Boxing Day of sales, part of what financial pundits predict will be a record Australian spend in shops this holiday season.

Bendigo Business Council chief executive officer Leah Sertori conceded 2016 was “a bit of a tough year” for the city’s retailers.

But businesses were buoyed on Boxing Day by smart advertising and collaboration between big and small proprietors, Ms Sertori said.

“The larger anchor stores – The Good Guys, JB, Anaconda – play an important role in drawing people into the city,” Ms Sertori said, believing people from as far away as Swan Hill and southern New South Wales chose Bendigo for their Box Day shop this year.

“They create the foot traffic that then supports other businesses.”

Higher shopper numbers not only gave smaller operators the confidence to stay open on a day when wages were two-and-a-half times the usual rate, but also contributed to a more “electric” atmosphere in the CBD, Ms Sertori said.

In more good news for the Bendigo retail sector, Ms Sertori said her organisation was preparing for a roundtable with newly elected mayor Margaret O’Rourke next month.

The councillor has said reinvigorating the city’s shopping options is one of her priorities.

Bendigo retailers are enjoying a “cracking” day of trade as financial pundits predict Australians will spend a record amount at the shops this holiday season.

Shoppers began flooding into Bendigo Marketplace and Lansell Square, as well as Hargreaves Mall, when stores opened this morning.

A JB HIFI Bendigo spokesman said many customers queuing at cash registers inside the store were buying big-ticket items like televisions.

Many cashed in vouchers gifted to them as Christmas presents to make their purchases, he said.

“It’s been a cracking day, we’re killing it,” the spokesman said.

The staff member believed crowds were the same size as in previous years, but some market watchers were expecting traders to experience larger than average takings before New Year’s Day.

An Australian Retailers Association report released today estimated $2.38 billion would be spent in stores nationwide on December 26.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said that meant post-Christmas spending could be up three percentage points on the same period last year.

“Although the pre-Christmas period saw a rush in foot traffic for last minute stocking stuffers and holiday hampers, retailers should be ready for an onslaught this morning as keen bargain hunters flood stores as soon as the doors open,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Although Boxing day is known as the biggest day of the year for retail discounts, sales will continue beyond December 26 into the new year, giving shoppers plenty of opportunities to catch a good bargain or two,” he said.

Among those looking for a cheap buy on Monday was Susanne Richardson, who arrived at the Bendigo Marketplace minutes after it opened at 8.30am.

Bed linen, next year’s Christmas wrapping paper and DVDs were top of Ms Richardson’s shopping list on Boxing Day. She also had a few presents to exchange as well. “I never get it 100 per cent right,” she said.

The avid shopper, 33, believed Boxing Day bargain hunters “[knew] they were in for crowds”.


This article is courtesy of the Bendigo Advertiser