Calm before the shopping ‘storm’

RETAILERS around Tamworth experienced a fairly quiet Friday, but when the world didn’t end as predicted on Friday night, it was a case of “shop-’til-you-drop” on Saturday all over town.

Kmart manager Sharon Trickey said the whole lead-up to Christmas had been fantastic, with the store’s lower prices policy resonsible for a 20 per cent increase in trade.

“It’s been consistently busy here for months, but we all had a chuckle when it was so quiet on Friday,” Sharon said.

“Someone said it was because of the end of the world and then we were absolutely hammered on Saturday, and several customers mentioned it. We just cracked up.”

Toys have been Kmart’s biggest mover, with staff flat out trying to keep the shelves stocked. Trampolines and swing sets were virtually running out the doors, Sharon said.

JB Hi-Fi manager James Weighman believes the timing of the store’s opening, followed by Christmas and then the country music festival, was the success secret behind the excellent trading figures at the store.

“You couldn’t pick a better time to open up a store like this,” James said.

“We’ve been really busy. The Samsung tablet has been really popular as it’s priced to sell as a great Christmas present, while iPods are also moving well.”

James said all the staff would need to get their rest on Christmas Day as it would be action stations once the big Boxing Day sale started.

Bunnings had an exceptional day on Saturday, according to Di Nicholls, with large numbers of people buying from several departments.

“Plants have just gone through the roof. Tamworth and district is going to have a very green Christmas, I suspect,” Di said.

“Outdoor leisure furniture has been a big seller, along with barbecues and gardening products like lawn mowers and ride-ons. Lots of people have bought Bunnings gift vouchers, too.”

Christmas Eve at Kay’s in Brewery Ln was bedlam, but owner Mark Knight  said it’s been the same all week.

“Hams are the number one item, but seafood is running a very hot second,” Mark said.

“With the warmer weather this year, seafood is a sought-after Christmas meal. With New Year just around the corner, it’s a good idea to pre-order your seafood, so you don’t miss out.”

Tamworth Business Chamber president Tim Coates, who was out shopping on Christmas Eve when The Leader caught up with him, said most retailers were enjoying a great boost in Christmas trade.

“The camping and outdoors places have been going very well and electrical retailers are doing a roaring trade,” Tim said. 

“Anecdotally, I think people tend to leave a lot of their shopping until the last minute, which is great for those retailers who’ve experienced the months of lay-bys and pre-Christmas selling to hve that last-minute boost. 

“It’s an extremely busy time of year in alcohol outlets as people stock up on their Christmas and new year cheer. I’ve had very positive reports all round.”

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