Retailers blamed competition from the internet and a lack of promotion for slower sales at Lismore’s annual stocktake sale on the weekend.
Even the added drawcards of sunny weather and a market day didn’t appear to help as most shopkeepers reported slower sales than on previous years, with many closing their doors early.
Despite the downturn, retailers generally gave the thumbs-up to Lismore City Council’s continuing campaign to pull more weekend shoppers into the CBD.
Many retailers said they felt the sale helped to counter outside forces like the lingering global economic downturn, the looming federal election and competition from the internet.
‘It is a good thing but it needs more promotion, the usual hype has just hasn’t been there,’ Mecca Café owner Todd McLean said.
‘Most of the shops were closing early yesterday because there just wasn’t the traffic. In previous years there would be big groups of people walking up and down all weekend. I don’t know if as many shops were involved this year.’
Mr McLean believes competition from online traders is causing some CBD retailers more pain than others.
‘I really do believe it’s from online sales – a few shops have closed down in our street,’ he said.
‘Lucky for me you can’t buy a flat white on the internet yet, they’ve still got to come in for that, and to eat.’
According to figures from City Centre manager, Renee Moehead, CBD shop vacancies in Lismore continue to hold at just above the accepted five per cent.
Ms Moehead heads the Council’s ongoing push to invigorate the CBD, which is funded by business ratepayers.
‘We hear a lot these days about the importance of buying local and there are few things better for our city than when people who live and work here spend their dollars here,’ she said.
Lismore Shopping Square appeared to fare better than its downtown cousins with the undercover complex still buzzing with shoppers mid-Sunday afternoon.
Robynne Surtees from Strandbags said she was ready for a rest after a busy weekend.
‘We were kept busy all day Saturday and very much the same for Sunday,’ she said.
‘It was about as busy as any car boot market day but yesterday (Saturday) was definitely more than usual.’
Ms Surtees also believed more needed to be spent promoting the sale.
‘I only saw it advertised in the newspaper so maybe a bit more is needed for both us and downtown,’ she said.