BALLARAT traders are preparing for a big lead-up to Christmas when shoppers try to beat the rush over the next two days in time for December 25.
Retailers, butchers and seafood stores are expecting to be hit by a last-minute frenzy as Ballarat prepares to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year.
Central Square, Bridge Mall and many other retailers, including Coles, Woolworths and Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables, will operate with different trading hours over the next two days.
Bridge Mall Traders Association president David Maloney said most of the signs were pointing to a positive December for the retail sector.
He believed there had been an extra boost for consumer spending from lower interest rates, as well as a positive feeling since September’s federal election.
“It’s a really busy trading period for everyone in retail,” Mr Maloney said.
“The last week is always a big time.
He said there were many shoppers who got their Christmas shopping out of the way early, however there was also another group who waited until the last couple of days.
“There is always a rush towards the end. It’s men typically who will leave it to the last minute and rush down to get what they have forgotten,” he said.
Mr Maloney, who also managers Faull’s Shoes, said the big change in Christmas shopping had come in the form of pre-Christmas sales, rather than the traditional Boxing Day discounts.
He said these were helping to make December a bigger month than usual.
However, he added Ballarat shoppers still expected to be offered significant sales after December 26.
“While we don’t have the crazy trading hours of what they do down in the city it is still a very busy trading day,” he said.
“There are a lot of people who wait for that time to do their shopping.”