Bendigo traders hope for last-minute surge

BENDIGO traders are doing "OK" but the Bendigo Business Council is urging people to buy local.

Bendigo Business Council executive officer Patrick Falconer said overall, Bendigo traders were doing better than last Christmas.

 “It’s been OK,” Mr Falconer said. ”It’s better than last year, but it could be better.

“In general regional Victorians tend to leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, so I think traders are hoping for a last-minute rush.”

Competition from online retailers was still a big issue and Mr Falconer urged shoppers to consider the broader impact of shopping locally on jobs and businesses.

The retail sector still accounted for 14 per cent of Bendigo’s employment, he said.

 “It’s an important industry and we should all support it,” Mr Falconer said.

“And it’s not the just the retail jobs it affects, but the jobs and businesses that depend on retail.”

As well, shopping online was not always the cheaper option once postage and other on-costs were added, and the inconvenience of returning items if they did not suit he said.

Yesterday Bendigo Marketplace was busy but not overcrowded with shoppers.

Clothing and soft toys were popular gifts.

Tanya Harrison, from Malmsbury, shopping there with her children Chloe, Darby and Lauri, said she was finding the shopping experience “not too stressful,” and was pleasantly surprised by the parking available.

“I was expecting the worst but we’ve been quite lucky."

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