Published on Dec 7, 2015

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As the silly season rolls around again there has been mixed news for retail in the media.

Last week Australia Post released research suggesting 87 per cent of people will buy one or more presents online this year – up 35 points from last year’s 52 per cent.

Industry body Australian Retailers Association reported it expected a modest 3.6 per cent increase in annual Christmas spending to take this year’s total to $47.6 billion; a positive estimate considering current consumer sentiment, yet less than hoped for.

And, finally, controversy was sparked when the government amended legislation to allow all New South Wales retailers to trade on Boxing Day for the first time.

Some Kurri Kurri main street retailers shared their thoughts on the issues facing retail this Christmas season:

Beautiful blooms


Amy (Frame) Cagney from Beautiful Blooms of Kurri says online shopping is positive for her business because it helps convert enquiries to sales. She finds a lot of her business is generated from people browsing her website and then calling to place an order. Although she does sell gift items, her primary product is fresh flowers which do not travel long distances well so she does not have to compete with cheap imports from overseas. However, Amy thinks it would be better for the Australian retail industry as a whole if the GST was applied to all online purchases. As for Boxing Day, Amy advised she will not be trading for both personal and professional reasons. Amy says she enjoys having the time off to spend with her family, something that is reflected by the wholesale flower markets that supply her product which also close down over the Christmas period.   Amy would really like to see a greater focus on promoting people to shop locally, as well as some beautification of the main street.





Denise and Andrew Crane from Kurri Pet Supplies and Gold n Tint say the shift to online shopping has been detrimental to their business and would like the GST applied to online purchases.   Denise highlighted how increasingly difficult it is for small, independent retailers to compete with the buying power of chain stores and wholesale products online. Andrew would like customers to realise the small extra cost that comes with buying locally also comes with extra value; at his store he can share 16 years’ worth of experience with customers, providing professional advice and after-sales support for pet health and needs.   Andrew would like to see better coordination of government services to ensure Kurri Kurri is a welcoming and well-serviced destination for locals, businesses and visitors. Denise says the store won’t be open on Boxing Day because she values the time off to spend with family.


AbbzGaye Osborne from Abbyz Designz says she has a valued and loyal local customer base, but that she’d like a more coordinated approach to entice more people in the community to shop locally. Gaye thinks people don’t always realise the importance small businesses play in supporting local employment, or that every dollar spent in the local economy helps to create new job opportunities. Gaye says online shopping makes it difficult for small boutiques, but she believes having a diverse and unique product offering and focusing on providing friendly and personalised customer service provides an experience that can’t be replicated online. Gaye is open to the idea of Boxing Day trade and would consider opening if other main street retailers did. Gaye thinks more work needs to be done to let the local community know that they don’t have to travel out of the town to get great products and great service, and she would love to have a shop local event in Kurri Kurri.