ACT News


Easter blooms as tide turns for traders

Canberra's conventional wisdom holds that the city closes down at Easter.

Not so. Traders at popular shopping precincts have reported steady business during the long weekend.

The strong weekend trade came as the city's businesses reported increasing levels of confidence, exceeding national levels.

As large crowds visited the Old Bus Depot Markets on Sunday, Canberra Colour staff member Ben Buckman said the flower store expected to sell out of stock by mid-afternoon.

''We are always very busy here on Sundays but this Easter there have been large numbers of customers coming out,'' he said.

''It seems as though have a lot of tourists have been around this weekend, with people coming to have a browse so that is good.''


Some larger electronic and home wares retailers reported slightly lower than usual trade in Civic and Belconnen, while the popular Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets were closed for Easter Sunday.

Paperchain Bookstore staff member Sam Fuz said the Manuka store was ''flat out'' during the four-day Easter period.

''We had a really busy Saturday and a good weekend overall with lots of people here,'' she said.

''Sunday has been just like a normal weekend day so customers are definitely out shopping,'' she said.

Some Canberra traders also expected Monday to be busy as ACT residents returned from long-weekend trips.

The quarterly Sensis Business Index survey this week found Canberra's small and medium businesses had recorded the largest increase in business confidence.

Confidence in the ACT rose by 19 per cent boost reaching an overall level of 34 per cent, exceeding the national average of net 28 per cent. The report looked at 1800 businesses around the country and found Canberra second to Victoria, with 53 per cent of businesses confident about their prospects for the year ahead and 25 per cent concerned.

Report author Christena Singh said ACT businesses reported having plenty of work in the pipeline.

"Small and medium enterprises in the ACT recorded higher performance results in the last quarter for sales, wages, prices, profitability and capital expenditure, with only the employment indicator falling," she said.

"They reported higher expectations for the past quarter for all indicators, with the exception of wages, which was expected to fall."

Nearly half of all business nationally reported paying increased prices for goods and services from suppliers in the last quarter, with 42 per cent of suppliers blaming the Federal government's carbon price for the increase in costs.