Melissa Peric from Weston Creek with partner Danny Clapp from Lyneham take a break from their Christmas shopping at the Canberra Centre.

Melissa Peric from Weston Creek with partner Danny Clapp from Lyneham take a break from their Christmas shopping at the Canberra Centre. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The thought of buying all your gifts the day before Christmas would cause too much panic for some.

But for Danny Clapp and his partner Melissa Peric it’s become something of an annual tradition.

“We’re last minute shoppers every time,” Mr Clapp said.

“It’s the only way.”

And for Christmas Eve, the crowds at the Canberra Centre were thinner than you might expect.

By early afternoon, Miss Peric had managed to do most of her shopping and often at half the price.

“Earlier in the year I always think to myself I’ll get it out of the way and then a week out from Christmas I haven’t got a thing,” she said.

“In some ways this is the best time to shop because the prices are lower because they’re preparing for Boxing Day sales and, if you look around, it’s not all that busy here.”

Myer store manager Rachel Paterson said Christmas Eve trade had been constant.

“There’s definitely lots of people around and for us today is also about getting ready for the Boxing Day Sale,” she said.

“But there’s still a lot of people buying a lot of their Christmas gifts.

“Fragrance has had a lot of people through today and the last few days, dads coming through with their kids and we’re selling a lot of gift cards.”

But some retailers said their Christmas sales had been less successful than previous years.

Helen Chu, the owner of fruit and vegetable store Majestic Fresh, said trade had been down this Christmas and she was waiting for the end of trade today to see if sales had picked up.

“Christmas Eve is traditionally busy for us so I’m eager to see how we’ll finish up because it is the day shoppers come in for their strawberries and all of those kinds of perishables that they leave until the last minute,” she said.

“Basically this Christmas has not been as busy as we would have hoped.

“We were planning on big days but our trade the last few days has been down on last year.

“Customers are more careful this year with what they spend because of the economic times we’re in.”

Gourmet City manager Scott Gorham said his deli had done a good trade in coffees today, but that was all.

“Overall it’s been quiet and down on last year,” he said.

“The problem is there just isn’t enough foot traffic in the city.”