Small businesses are in the throes of their biggest sales week, with giveaways flying off the shelves for Christmas – but in the background, they’re cautiously preparing for a quiet sequel.
Premier Mark McGowan said the success of small businesses over the next “crucial” two weeks was a major reason WA’s reopening date was pushed back to February.
“We want our small businesses to be successful during the Christmas and New Years period,” he said.
“Hospitality, tourism, the retail industry – they depend on this time for a lot of their sales throughout the year and we don’t want to see what’s being created in the east. produce here during this period.
“This is why we decided to go for 90% double dose vaccinations before opening, which is why we did not want to put in place restrictions and limitations for businesses during the Christmas period and the New Year. “
WA will open its doors to travelers and returning residents on February 5 after nearly two years of isolation from the rest of the world, although Mr McGowan has warned that residents could still face increased COVID restrictions due to the spread of Omicron across the eastern states.
Angove Street Collective owner Greg Baker said foot traffic during the holiday season varied for the popular North Perth homeware, furniture and designer store.
“It can be fantastic and it can be completely dead… (but) as we have less foot traffic we can often have more sales,” he said.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Danicia Quinlan said it was important to keep areas such as the port city activated throughout the holiday season.
“We are fortunate that during the holiday season and in January it is still a pretty active place in Fremantle, strongly motivated by school holidays and places of hospitality,” she said.
“But it’s a more difficult time, especially at the end of January and the beginning of February; the wheels are definitely falling off the retail industry.
“We’re seeing in some of our larger centers almost a willingness to create these experiences – you see that in Karrinyup and Garden City, there is a desire in these centers to keep buyers longer.
“In a way, Fremantle already has it.
“So the thing that we really need to do well is promote that and really show people that you can spend a day in Fremantle… it’s a whole day experience. “
Mr Baker agreed that having experience in a particular field, including the tight-knit business community of North Perth, could boost small businesses.
“If you see it as a day, with the added benefit of picking up something as a treat… it’s a win-win and it helps local businesses,” he said.
“There is such a direct connection between buying local and keeping businesses open … four bad weeks that can close a business.
“Sometimes people don’t realize how direct this connection can be and think ‘businesses always survive’, but they don’t.”
Stirling Business Association chief executive Yvonne Atkinson said January was a generally quiet month, but it might be time for small business owners to take a well-deserved rest.
She said there are profitable ways for small businesses to be supported throughout the year, not just in January.
“Loyal customers can continue to support small businesses by writing reviews online for this business, sharing their social media posts on their network, and generally advocating for this business to family and friends,” a- she declared.
“Small businesses rely on word of mouth recommendations, so any promotion that a satisfied customer can provide will help them.
“The competitive advantage for small businesses is personal relationships, so this kind of defense works. “