Shoppers are out in force
TWEED shoppers are still spending confidently in the lead-up to Christmas, despite the burden of rising interest rates.
The Reserve Bank has lifted the interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.75 per cent, effective yesterday.
This is the third month in a row that the interest rate has been raised, putting pressure on home owners, yet Tweed City Shopping Centre is full of shoppers filling their Christmas stockings.
Trish Griffin, a Tweed home owner and mother, was one who has done her shopping ahead of the rush.
“My husband and I are building a house, so the interest-rate rise means we won’t have money we would have had,” she said.
“But I have already done my shopping and spent about the same as last year.”
Surprisingly, Tweed City is buoyant about the rate rises, believing it is a sign of confidence in Australian business and the economy as a whole.
Tweed City marketing manager Jessica Hitchin is anticipating increasing numbers of customers closer to December 25.
“Crowds swell in the lead-up to Christmas, with December always being the centre’s biggest traffic month,” Ms Hitchin said.
“Christmas Eve is a high-volume day, however I would expect similar numbers from Monday, December 21, this year due to Christmas Day taking place on a Friday.”
Russell Zimmerman, Australian Retailers’ Association executive director, was concerned retail estimates were overly optimistic. “Christmas will be good, but it won’t be the great Christmas that retailers were wanting,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“Around $140 will be added to monthly repayments on an average $300,000 mortgage as a result of the past three rate rises, affecting Christmas spending for those working within budget constraints.”
Mr Zimmerman said house prices in Tweed Heads were higher than similar-sized towns around Australia, meaning locals pay more on home loans.
He also said it is vitally important to Tweed employment that Christmas takings were strong, because any-where up to 40 per cent of retailers’ incomes will come from this period.