Small traders reel in Christmas shoppers 

RETAILERS are reporting strong Christmas trading, with some of the best sales to date, the Goulburn and District Chamber of Commerce says.

Chamber president Rob Walker told the Post that figures weren’t final, but many businesses were feeling optimistic about results.

“The word is that sales were strong, not over the top like some previous years but still strong.”

Mr Walker said the success of larger chain-stores in the Goulburn retail market added a challenge to locally-owned retailers, although most are reporting good sales.

Target selling support manager Mitch Blake said the store was especially busy leading up to Christmas and was trading well with post- Christmas sales.

“We were extremely busy in the lead up to Christmas as shoppers were out and about getting their last minute presents,” he said.

“As in previous years, technology items continued to be a key category this Christmas due to the popularity of iPads, iPad Minis, iPod Touch and iPod speaker docks.

“Novelty electrical items such as donut makers and popcorn machines were among the most sought-after gifts. Automotive gift sets and pampering packs were also in hot demand this year.”

While technology items were a popular choice for Christmas gifts, many people were buying homeware during the end of year sales.

“We have been really pleased with the response to our post Christmas sale… Goulburn locals are buying a large range of homewares, including high thread count sheet sets, towels and pillows,” Mr Blake said.

Local retail outlets Zantis Jewellers and Something Special saw success over the festive season, with trade reported as on-par or even greater than previous years.

Owner of long-standing local store Zantis Jewellers, Peter Zantis, said that 2012 would stand as one of the most successful in his many years in local retail.

“We have had the best year from what I can remember,” he said.

“(Sales were) down at the beginning of December compared to previous years, but from mid-December we were very pleased.”

Mr Zantis told the Post he wasn’t too worried about the year to come. He believes that locally, the retail market is buoyant, although the threat of online shopping will affect some retail industries.

Something Special’s Janarie Micallef agreed that trade was quiet earlier in December, with no speculation as to why.

She said that personal items such as jewellery, handbags, wallets, toiletries, gourmet food and candles proved popular gifts for 2012, and home décor a well-liked choice post- Christmas.

Despite concerns about retail trade in January and February, Mrs Micallef said the flow of tourists through the town would help to keep things busy.

The addition of a tearoom to the store will attract business in 2013.

From handmade chocolates and handmade cakes to high teas, the Something Special tearoom will offer a place to sit, relax and enjoy the atmosphere and a great coffee.

“We want to create an experience to tie in with the store,” Mrs Micallef said.

Plans are in place for the “grand opening” this month.

Keep an eye out in the Post for further details.

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