Business recovers in M'bah

MURWILLUMBAH businesses are thanking Santa -- and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd -- as end-of-year business fin-%ally picks up after a poor 12 months. Local businesses were hard hit in a year that began with severe flooding in much of the district, followed by soaring fuel prices and high interest rates and then the global economic slump.

"We have found that Kevin 07 with his money has %improved things," said a happy Noel Hession, proprietor of Murwillumbah Retravision, yesterday, referring to Mr Rudd's economic stimulus grants.

"Business was very ordinary earlier in the year, but we have had a pretty good October, November and December.

"You've got to be positive about it. If everybody talks gloom and doom it spreads."

Over the past few weeks Mr Hession said customers had been streaming back in.

"People have bought computers for their kids and that type of thing.I think most of the traders in the main street have done pretty well. It's been good."

Mr Hession said main street business had also been boosted by the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber car give-away promotion. The winner of that car is due to be drawn at 10am today at the specialist store Sewing Pleasure.

Mr Hession said 63 Murwillumbah businesses took part.

"It's been a good promotion," he said.

Business chamber president and Tweed shire councillor Phil Youngblutt said business across the district had "picked up a bit" after a "very bad" year.

"Part of it is due to the fact fuel prices have fallen and interest rates are falling," he said.

Mr Youngblutt said the car giveaway promotion had been quite successful, and main street shoppers also seemed to be responding positively to soft piped music from speakers set up beneath shop awnings.

Nationally, retail sales have bounced back over the past two weeks, but not all is cheery. Harvey Norman chief Gerry Harvey, speaking on the Gold Coast, revealed people at the top like himself have lost $1.5 billon in a year.

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