Savvy shoppers think ahead

Latrobe Valley traders say shoppers planning ahead led to a quieter Christmas period, with the exception being Traralgon.

Moe and Morwell businesses reported steady numbers in the lead up to Christmas, while Traralgon shoppers flocked to Stockland for last-minute gifts.

Stockland Traralgon centre manager Jeff Andrews said the plaza was buzzing last week.

“This year with Christmas falling on the Sunday everyone had the full week and left their shopping to the last minute,” Mr Andrews said.

“During that last week the car park was full, all day every day. That last week was the major sale period for our traders.”

Traralgon Chamber of Commerce president John Groen said it was a busy few weeks leading up to Christmas in Traralgon’s central business district, but he had not noticed much change on previous years.

Moe shoppers were organised and planned ahead, allowing for steady traffic in the weeks approaching the annual holiday, the town’s traders’ association secretary Susan Broadbent said.

“It (the trading numbers) shows shoppers were organised this year and didn’t leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute,” Ms Broadbent said.

Shopping in the town picked up on Boxing Day with bargain hunters making the most of the post-Christmas sales.

“Boxing Day was booming, there seemed to be a lot of people in Moe and more stalls were open in comparison with previous years,” Ms Broadbent said.

Advance Morwell member Ray Burgess said the town’s traders were “reasonably happy and complementary” of a steady Christmas trading period.

Target store manager Heather Daniel said she believed Christmas shopping was done earlier than usual this year, minimising the last-minute rush.

She said the store, located in Morwell’s MidValley shopping centre, recorded about half the Boxing Day sales of 2015, and put the decline down to the weather.

“The centre as a whole was busy but I’ve certainly seen it a lot busier,” Ms Daniel said.