STAWELL - Stawell business operators have reported boom trade over the Christmas period and are expecting it to continue into the new year.
Several traders in Main Street indicated steady traffic leading up to Christmas, with Bi-Rite Electrical once again enjoying its biggest trading day on Boxing Day.
Owner Brett Crouch said he was pleased with the pre-Christmas trade, but expected things to 'hot up' on Boxing Day.
"Boxing Day is our biggest trading day of the year," he said.
"I was very pleased with the Boxing Day trade this year. As far as the weekends leading up to Christmas and the Monday and Tuesday prior, they were fairly steady and comparable to last year."
Robyn Young from Stawell Sportspower said she was happy with the Christmas trade.
"We are very grateful for the support we receive from the locals, which is great," Mrs Young said.
"We find the trends are changing a bit. There are more families doing Kris Kringles meaning people are only buying presents for one person instead of for several people, but it still works out well.
"It means we tend to sell more stocking fillers or fun items, as people are wanting to take the seriousness and stress out of Christmas.
"A lot of people also purchased gift vouchers, so they will be redeemed over time."
Mrs Young said Monday prior to Christmas was a big trading day, but Christmas Eve was a little quieter.
"I guess people are packing and preparing to travel on Christmas Eve. How we go seems to depend on when the trading falls.
"The weekends were not that great, but were steady. People had plenty of shopping days leading up to Christmas so they obviously made the most of that opportunity."
Robyn and Shane Young usually open longer hours during the summer months, with their extensive fishing range proving particularly popular over the holidays.
"We will be preparing ourselves to open every day soon, probably from mid-January, to cater for the growing number of tourists in the area," Robyn said.
"We expect the tourists to start arriving any time between now and mid-January, so we will be open more often to cater for the increased demand."
Gold Reef Clothing Store enjoyed steady trade leading up to Christmas an the post Christmas sale on Friday also attracted a lot of attention.
Owner Brenton Potter, said he was pleased that the business was able to at least match the trade of last year.
"The weather wasn't very kind in the first couple of weeks of December, so that can turn people away," he said.
"Other than that, trade has been very steady. Last week in particular was very busy for us.
"It looks as though we will be pretty much on par with last year, so I'm happy enough with that."
Mr Potter said his, along with many other businesses, were always fighting against new shopping trend, particularly the online shopping.
"When you consider what we are up against, competing with online shopping, if we can stay steady from year to year, then I'm happy," he said.
"I'm happy enough if we can keep doing what we are doing."
David Kaczynski, store manager at Fosters Mensland in Stawell, said he had been generally pleased with trading over the entire Christmas period.
He said traffic through the store was steady in the week leading up to Christmas, with shoppers continuing the trend of leaving gift items to the last minute.
"I guess when people know they have the Monday and Tuesday just prior to Christmas to finish their shopping, they tend not to rush in the weeks leading up," he said.
"We would have been similar to other years in the weeks leading up to Christmas and then it gradually built up. The Monday and Tuesday were particularly good for us.
"There have been quite a few tourists around already an the nice weather helps, so we've had a couple of good days following on from Christmas.
"We are finding that gift vouchers are always popular and apart from that, everything has been steady.
"Hopefully this continues into the new year, which is usually a good time for us. A lot of people have taken the past week off, so days like today are usually fairly steady. With tourists also starting to arrive, we are expecting it to keep us busy."