ACT News


Ditching five-star hotels for the great outdoors

Christmas sales may have been patchy in the ACT, but for camping supply stores business is booming.

And the big outdoor retailers are set to cash in this Boxing Day, according to the head of the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

CEO Chris Peters says uncertain economic times have proved lucrative for shops selling tents, sleeping bags and camping accessories, as families swapped luxury for less costly getaways. ''There's a lack of consumer confidence and uncertainty about the economic future, it means that people are less likely to take holidays in five-star hotels and more likely to take holidays in a less-expensive environment, and camping's a great example of that,'' he said.

The high value of the Australian dollar was also making imported camping supplies cheaper, and on Boxing Day outdoor supply retailers would be magnets for shoppers.

''I think we'll see people spending money in camping stores right now for those who go away on Wednesday of next week straight after Christmas, but we'll also see an absolute boom in camping goods sales immediately after Christmas,'' he said.

Mr Peters said generally most local retailers were reporting Christmas sales figures similar to 2011, which was not considered a particularly good year.

In Fyshwick alone, outdoors and camping stores Anaconda, BCF and Rays Outdoors vie for customers within walking distance of each other. At Anaconda on Friday there were lines of shoppers at the cash registers.

Duffy residents Melissa Leggett and daughter Sophie, who turns 11 on Christmas Eve, were shopping for sleeping mats, sleeping bags and camping clothes. They will fly to Tasmania after Christmas to spend three weeks four-wheel driving and camping on the Apple Isle.