Shoppers give retailers a merry Christmas

IT IS shaping up to be a merry Christmas for Launceston retailers.

According to those on the ground, shoppers are spending more and they are spending it at home.

From a store that has been operating for nearly 30 years to one that has just reached its second birthday, that festive spirit is being felt by all.

Petrarch's  Bookshop manager Marcus Durkin said there seemed to be a new sentiment behind consumers' purchases this season.

``I think that people are realising that there is a really nice attitude to keeping local business here,'' Mr Durkin said.

``Nine out of 10 books that we sell we're gift wrapping - customers like that personal service and like keeping money in the local economy.''

Petrarch's is about to see its 28th Christmas and Mr Durkin said that this Christmas ``felt'' better than last.

It is a sentiment echoed by Inside Home and Gifts, which is trading through its second season.

Manager Richard Harmey said he had also noticed more foot traffic and more dollars being spent within the city and state.

He said there almost seemed to be a distrust of online shopping this year.

Both stores agreed that while it had been a busy December, the influx was yet to come.

``This year we've already experienced what the pinnacle [of busy] was last year, so I'm expecting it to be absolutely mental in the days leading up to Christmas,'' Mr Harmey said.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief executive Maree Tetlow said she understood retailers to be doing at least as well as last year.

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