2017 Christmas spending comes back after a slow start

LEETON’S shoppers have been urged to “use it or lose it” following an average Christmas shopping season in town. 

Most retailers have reported the weeks leading up to Christmas Day as quiet. 

However, the final days leading up to Christmas saved many stores in Leeton from having to scramble to make up the losses. 

Kath Dunn from the Leeton Trophy and Gift Centre said she had been concerned heading into the Christmas week. 

“It does depend where Christmas falls sometimes … it was a full week and there didn’t seem to be that manic rush,” she said. 

“It was steady all the way. I’ve spoken to lots of the businesses. We were (all) worried we wouldn’t have as good a Christmas as we had in previous years. 

“But we all came back at the end of the week, thank God. Definitely though shopping online and out-of-town has had an affect.

“We used to have just shopping out-of-town, but now our small businesses are competing with online and it’s hurting us. 

“I think people need to realise the affect it does have and will continue to have.”

Business owners in Leeton are concerned the more residents shop online, the more chance there is stores like theirs will close. 

The main street already has many empty shops, but the flow on affect from businesses closing is more than just losing a shop or two. 

Jack in the Box owner Rhonda McCormick said it was up to the community to spend their money in town in order for Leeton to prosper and grow. 

“For me Christmas spending was definitely down, but then the last week was crazy, which made up for it,” she said. 

“I think people have got to start realising if they don’t use us, they will lose us and they will have to go out of town for absolutely everything. 

“It has a flow-on affect for everything. It’s the things you don’t think about. I mean the amount of donations businesses do for Christmas raffles for community groups and charities is amazing, so they would all lose out too.”

The trend of online shopping and heading out-of-town to complete the Christmas list isn’t just specific to Leeton. 

Bigger brand stores are also suffering from customers shopping from overseas websites. 

I think people have got to start realising if they don’t use us, they will lose us and they will have to go out of town for absolutely everything.

Jack in the Box owner Rhonda McCormick

A slower December than usual wasn’t just specific to retail stores in Leeton either. 

Gary Lanham from Lanham from Lanhams of Leeton reported one of their quietest Decembers in many years. 

“It’s not typical, no,” he said. 

“It was very slow. In saying that we had a really good year, so while you would prefer it to be busier, it didn’t affect us too much.”

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