Shopping centres extend hours for Xmas
Retailers could be in for one of their best holiday trading periods in years as shopping centres extend their hours leading up to Christmas.PT1M25S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zuhy 620 349 December 23, 2013
If the midnight army of shoppers expected to march through Highpoint Shopping Centre over the next 30 hours is any indication, then retailers could be in for one of their best holiday trading periods in years.
‘‘I think we are having a bumper year to be quite honest,’’ said Highpoint general manager Scott Crellin as the nation’s third biggest shopping centre, located in Melbourne’s west, opens its doors for a 32-hour sales marathon that will last until 5 pm tomorrow.
Mr Crellin said since 9 am this morning, when Highpoint opened its doors, the centre had already seen 20,000 people walk through with just under 200,000 expected to shop, eat, drink and maybe even catch a few moments sleep before that last shopping burst towards Christmas Eve.
With consumer confidence rising, retailers and analysts are expecting good Christmas sales.
It’s a similar picture around other parts of the country as those that failed to complete their Christmas lists last weekend hunt around for that DVD box set for their favourite nephew, a tool set for Dad or that hard-to-get Skylanders action figure for tiny Tim.
‘‘I think it’s probably going to be a better Christmas than it prior years,’’ said Savanth Sebastian, an economist at CommSec.
Tech and gift cards
Mr Crellin said tech gadgets were very popular and once again gift vouchers were appearing at the top of most people’s Christmas list.
‘‘Our gift cards are doing exceptionally well and we have already exceeded this year the number of gift card sales for last year, they are very strong.
‘‘I think a lot of people are buying gift cards this year so recipients can take advantage of Boxing Day sales.’’
Highpoint is expecting 130,000 people to rush the centre for its Boxing Day sales later this week.
A spokeswoman for Myer said all its 67 department stores across the country were reporting high traffic with top selling categories cosmetics and perfume, women’s fashion and accessories was well as toys and homewares.
In electrical the BOSE mini bluetooth speaker was selling at strong numbers week after week, books by celebrity chefs such as Donna Hay, Maggie Beer and Guy Grossi were also popular. Among toys the biggest selling brands were Furby Boom, Disney Planes Tilt & Fly and the Barbie digital dress doll.
The election outcome and a feeling of greater household wealth thanks to a rising sharemarket has helped drive sales since October, with that trend expected to continue into December and the stocktake sales of January.
‘‘If you look at consumer confidence it is holding at a pretty healthy levels now, we are seeing the rally in the sharemarket and house price gains adding to the ‘wealth affect’ story and I think that seems to suggest that retail activity should lift,’’ Mr Sebastian said.
He said tracking of EFTPOS transactions on Commonwealth Bank merchant terminals, which control nearly 40 per cent of the market, showed a 4 per cent lift in October, another 0.5 per cent gain on top of that for November and annualised increases of 8.5 per cent.
Back at Highpoint Mr Crellin said last minute shoppers were taking advantage of the centre’s midnight to afternoon trading hours.
‘‘It’s definitely last minute shoppers, we know through our online research that 50 per cent of customers will leave their shopping until the last week and of that 16 per cent come in within the last 24-36 hours before Christmas Day.’’
He said consumer confidence was on the rise.
‘‘We expect sales growth to improve with the more stable political environment and improving consumer and business sentiment.’’