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A flying start for Sunday trading

Matt Farthing, Danielle Farthing and Shaun Clanchy entertain at Hinkler Central.
Matt Farthing, Danielle Farthing and Shaun Clanchy entertain at Hinkler Central.

SHOPPERS had a hard time remembering it was Sunday yesterday as the doors to shopping centres across Bundaberg swung open, marking the start of seven-day trading.

And shop-'til-they-drop they did, with families packing out Sugarland Shoppingtown and Hinkler Central Shopping Centre for a spot of Sunday retail therapy.

Even some of those critical of the seven-day trading decision came to see what the fuss was all about.

Almost 20 stores at Hinkler Central, ranging from women's fashion to banks and medical services, chose not to open yesterday, along with seven shops at Sugarland.

Lorna Jane manager Tania Nicholas said her store at Hinkler Central had smashed its daily targets.

"We wanted it to be this busy - it's fantastic," she said.

Mrs Nicholas said she was surprised a few of the big name retailers, such as Noni B and Suzanne Grae, remained closed.

"At the moment, opening on a Sunday is non-compliant," she said.

"I think they're just playing it by ear as to what their returns will be."

Mrs Nicholas and her staff urged Bundaberg to get behind and support the extra trading day.

"Embrace it - it will be a good thing," she said.

Hinkler Central marketing manager Elysia Billingham said most of the stores saw the benefit of opening on Sunday.

"It's such a new thing to Bundaberg and the lead-in time was quite short, so there are a few stores that have to recruit for additional staff to work on Sundays," she said.

Ms Billingham said management believed the strong turnout of shoppers was an indication Bundaberg people had been "waiting for this for a long time".

However, it might take a little more convincing for Sharron Marsh to warm to the idea of Sunday trading.

"It sounds hypocritical because we're here, but I think everyone should have the day off," she said.

"It spoils family time."

Mrs Marsh said she didn't believe yesterday was a true indication of how seven-day trading would be received, particularly as it was Mother's Day.

Former Bundaberg man Simon Jacobs, who enjoys seven-day trading in his new home in Brisbane, said it was good to see Bundaberg "come online".

"We were surprised at how many people were out here considering how many said they didn't want it," he said.

RT Edwards manager Brad Long said a few specialty shops and some in the food court remained closed at Sugarland Shoppingtown.

"We had a good day," he said.

"It probably took about two hours to get a kick-along, but then we got a good run of genuine buyers in."

Mr Long said he had tried previously to open on Sundays but, as the rest of the centre had remained closed, it had not been worthwhile.

"For me especially, my opponents are open on a Sunday," he said.

"It's a benefit with the centre being open - it's a drawcard."

In the chaos of the shopping centres dealing with their first day of Sunday trade, shopkeepers in the CBD were pleased to see Bourbong St wasn't forgotten.

Rich Aromas Cafe owner Judy Yeung said she had been run off her feet for most of the day.

"Because it was Mother's Day we had extra flow through the city," she said.

"I've never seen so many cars before 10am."

Topics:  business, economy, retail, seven-day trading, shopping


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