Shoppers count cost

By Felicity Caldwell

THE global financial crisis did not keep shoppers away from Riverlink at the weekend as the start of Christmas shopping season began.

But it is yet to be seen if economic woes will change the way people shop for their friends and family this year.

University of Southern Queensland economics and finance lecturer Dr Peter Phillips said it was difficult to predict people's spending habits and bodies in shopping centres did not mean money spent.

"I think there could be some slowing in spending but that does not necessarily mean people won't be seen in the streets," Dr Phillips said.

"If you went back to the depression era, there would still be people around and going to the shops."

But Barbara's House & Garden Riverlink owner Mark Jackway said the shop had been busy.

"It has dramatically picked up so it should be a good Christmas for us," Mr Jackway said.

"This is always a busy time of year for us and judging by the way the interest rates have been dropped back and the incentives from the Government - everyone is spending."

Gallery Newtown owner Matthew Cobbin said trade had been fairly steady recently but it was impossible to predict what would happen closer to Christmas with the current financial crisis.

"However we have had more foot trade and we find that people are putting more thought into what they are getting some one," Mr Cobbin said.

"So they are spending their dollars more wisely and buying more meaningful presents."

Dr Phillips said people were changing their spending habits and cutting back on luxuries such as lunches out or takeaway coffees and shops would need to entice people to spend.

"They might also be enticed by Christmas sales so for example, keep everything as it is price wise and you might find the customers are reluctant to spend," he said.

"Reduce it by 15 to 30 per cent and you might find people flock to the stores."



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