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Retailers braced for an unprecedented weekend

Newmarket Business Association

Media release

Friday, 22 December 2006


Retailers braced for an unprecedented weekend

Retailers are braced for a record-breaking weekend, with pedestrian counts expected to increase five-fold and Eftpos transactions to reach an all time high, according to country's leading shopping district.

"The planets have all lined up for an unprecedented weekend of trading. We're predicting overall Christmas spend will be up about 5% on last year, with consumer and business confidence experiencing a bit of a rebound. The fact that Christmas falls on a Monday also means people have two whole days to do their last minute shopping and by all accounts a lot of people have left their run late," said Cameron Brewer, head of the Newmarket Business Association.

"It has been a pretty patchy year for retailers and so this weekend actually needs to be big. All indicators so far show that momentum has been steadily building over the past week. This week Newmarket's overall pedestrian counts have been more than double than usual trading days. At peak times this weekend we can probably expect pedestrian numbers to be five-times more than what we usually experience.

"We are grateful that Paymark Eftpos has invested $4 million in upgrading its electronic network over the past nine months to avoid last year's two-hour crash on December 23 which blocked half a million transactions. CEO Simon Tong has given us his personal assurances that Paymark Eftpos has 'complete confidence' in the network's resilience. Such confidence has been well received by retailers."

Mr Brewer said some interesting shopping trends his association had observed included the rise in the number of sales leading up to Christmas and the huge growth in the popularity of Boxing Day sales. Gift vouchers are also more popular than ever and online shopping seems to be gaining some real traction.

"We could witness a record billion dollars in total being spent across the country in this final week before Christmas. Last year consumers spent $872m in the final week. This weekend has got all the potential to break numerous retailing records," said Mr Brewer.

ENDS

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