Retailers confident of Christmas rush

IMPROVING retail figures and a more confident consumer are pointing to a better Christmas trading period for Launceston shops.

CityProm executive officer Vanessa Cahoon said yesterday that sustained low interest rates and even the change of federal government had helped to improve the outlook for local retailers.

``December 1 is when people start getting busy with their Christmas shopping and you can see today there's a lot of people about, which is good,'' she said.

``It's been a bit slow to kick off for Christmas (this year) but there is renewed confidence and it's definitely going to pick up.''

Petrarch's Bookshop manager Marcus Durkin is hoping good trade in October and November will continue through December.

``We're really pleased with trade at the moment,'' Mr Durkin said.

``There's been a few big Tasmanian books out this year that have helped us. Ricky Ponting's book was a huge seller.

``Our figures for October and November have been promising and they usually hold steady during December.''

He said good personal service was the best response to competition from online shopping.

``We gift wrap, we put on extra staff but our  knowledge of books, that's the point of difference for us.''

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