Shoppers at Riverlink in previous years.
Shoppers at Riverlink in previous years. David Nielsen

FIRM FOCUS: Christmas trade strong in city shopping centres

IN THE final countdown towards Christmas, shopping centres across Ipswich are proving to be a very popular destination for those last minute gifts and groceries.

According to the National Retail Association, shoppers are expected to hit the pavement in droves.

There are high hopes of a last minute buying spike to make this a Merry Christmas for retailers too.

Sales in bricks and mortar stores are doing well across Australia; fashion is taking a lead according to the NRA.

Local shopping centre management is reporting strong trade and a level of confidence returning to business and the consumer alike.

Riverlink marketing manager Robyn Bannister-Tyrrell said the centre was busy and building each day.

"Retailers are very happy with the trade so far. I am looking forward to seeing the December sales figures," she said.

Santa remains popular and Riverlink have Santa photos throughout this week as well as Lifeline gift wrapping.

This is a great way to assist Lifeline while getting the wrapping out of the way.

"We are receiving donations for the RSPCA to take care of the many pets in their care and also donations can be made to Compassionate Connect to assist with food hampers for the needy in the community," Ms Bannister-Tyrrell said.

Riverlink reported 2015 had been a great year overall, and that the centre was developing a strong restaurant experience, welcoming the new Great Wall of Yum Cha restaurant.

"We now have food from around the world, it is exciting to see the development," Ms Bannister-Tyrrell said.

Limelight Cinema will likely prove to be a popular location over the holidays, especially for the big Boxing Day releases.

Booval Fair marketing manager Lauren Roche said that trade had been steady but should strengthen in the final week before Christmas.

"We have had a strong November and December so far," Ms Roche said.

Booval Fair is continuing its ongoing support of Ipswich Hospice this Christmas, selling remembrance baubles to decorate the Christmas tree.

"You pay $2, write a message and place it on the tree," Ms Roche said.

Booval Fair has had some changes in the centre during the year, with Harvest Markets being one of the most recent, along with the Flight Centre.

"There are more things happening in 2016, so watch this space," she said.

"Santa's mailbox is in the centre and there are some stunning decorations. Santa will be in the centre and photos are available.

"The atmosphere is wonderful here."

Ipswich City Square marketing manager Rachel Vickary said the CBD was busy, with Street Beat 2015 in the Mall and retailers doing well.

"We are a destination centre and have a lot to offer for Christmas gift ideas," she said.

The square has had a busy few months and offers plenty of activities over Christmas.

The auto memorabilia store is having a Boxing Day sale and the museum is open over the Christmas period.

"If you cannot find that something special then Ipswich City Square has a range of stores that can assist," Ms Vickary said.

"The Christmas Tree in the Mall is always popular, and the street parade was very successful it is a great time to come into Ipswich City Square."

Shopping local keeps people employed and supports our local shopping centres across the city, along with destination shops in local suburbs and rural centres.

Be patient for a car park, as ample are provided at all centres, or take public transport.