Final few days crucial to retailers

SHOPPERS are confident but the final few days before Christmas will be crucial,  retailers say.

A range of retailers across the state said yesterday that shopping had picked up after the September federal election but was now only on a par with last year.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Maree Tetlow said there was a ``buzz'' around the city with people out in force in city and suburban shops.

``Most members indicated a fairly strong retail lead into Christmas,'' she said.

``But it's make or break over the next few days because it's all going well to this point.''

She said retail seemed on a par with last year, but a strong final few days before Christmas could make this year better than the last.

Tasmanian Small Business Council executive officer Robert Mallett agreed, saying having Christmas on a Wednesday threw up some unknowns.

Many service businesses, such as legal and accounting firms, stopped trading for the holidays on Friday.

So Mr Mallett said it remained to be seen if those workers would come into town and shop before Wednesday  or stay away and prepare for Christmas.

He said that following a strong October, retailing had softened, particularly in the North-West.

Cityprom executive officer Vanessa Cahoon said yesterday was ``pretty massive'' in central Launceston, with lots of people about.

She said this Christmas seemed on par with last year, and clothing, mobile phones and Apple tablets were particular favourites.

``It is the biggest day we have had for 2013,'' she said of yesterday.

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