Cash registers ring out
CLOUDLESS skies on the Coast are warming up our spending habits and melting away our financial worries.
Cash registers are expected to consume about $25 billion nationwide as consumers fill lounge rooms choc-a-block with Christmas presents.
The Australian National Retailers Association puts the yuletide figure at roughly $1000 a person - 4% higher than in 2010.
Coast retailers are feeling especially merry about the upturn.
Alterior Motif has been a fashionable anchor at Cotton Tree for eight years, joined by a sister store in Noosa Junction last year.
It is particularly sought out for the newest lines from designers du jour and Sass and Bide.
Owner Penny Lane said spenders were becoming more liberal with their money this year, a natural response to our perfect pre-summer weather.
"It has been a bit more consistent compared to last year," Ms Lane said.
"We're definitely increasing our sales.
"I think people have had enough of feeling like they should be penny pinching."
Ms Lane said constant talk of Queensland's next boom had reminded people that good times are on the horizon.
"There is a lot of positive media about Queensland, the growth of the state and the opportunities that are up here," she said.
"If you walk around Cotton Tree at the moment, it's buzzing."
Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce president Ross Hepworth said our optimism - eroded since the downturn began - was now returning.
He said that positivity must now be matched by actual results if the Coast was to begin a long-awaited upswing.
"My understanding is that all the portent for Christmas is looking positive," Mr Hepworth said.
"Often in small businesses, Christmas is the cream you live off for the whole year."
"It can be the end, but it can be the saviour too.
"When you see Harvey Norman and Emporio going up in Maroochydore and you know Horton Park is signed off, you have a real sense that (the region) is going to take off.
"But will it be this Christmas? That's a very different question."
Figures released by retailer group ANRA show how much we will spend this Christmas.
- $25b spent in retailers.
- Equates to $1000 a person - 4% more than 2010.
- "Experiences" in the form of vouchers to be popular.
- 35% will shop in discount stores this year.
- One-third in a traditional department store.
- 13% will buy online.