With the Christmas season upon us, the Illawarra Business Chamber has today asked the community to support local businesses by shopping locally in order to support the Illawarra economy and keep jobs within our region.

Illawarra consumers have traditionally preferred the experience of shopping locally, which allows them to ‘try before they buy’, enjoy a friendlier customer service experience, and take advantage of the vibrant retail precincts right on their doorsteps.

The Illawarra Business Chamber is anticipating another record Christmas retail season in 2018, with the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan predicting Australians will spend more than $51 billion over the Christmas trading period from November 9 to December 24, 2018 – a predicted 3.1 percent growth over 2017 in pre-Christmas sales across NSW.

“Retail spending is an important economic indicator, which directly points to consumer confidence and therefore to the strength of the economy,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.

“Bricks and mortar stores continue to be most popular for shoppers, thanks to the convenience and aftersales service they provide.”

“The retail sector is incredibly important to our economy, as it employs 16,623 jobs across the region and represents some $1.8 billion in value added.”*

Michelle Palmer, Centre Manager of Wollongong Central, said that already the shopping precinct was experiencing the Christmas rush, and urged shoppers not to leave their run too late.

“This year, we know that once again, Illawarra residents will shop locally for their Christmas presents, as it is a win-win in terms of convenience and supporting our local economy.”

“We’ve extended our opening hours once again to allow our customers to shop at their convenience, and at less busy times for a more relaxing experience.”

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