Shoppers take their money out of town

IT'S official - Gladstone businesses are missing out on millions of dollars each year because residents are spending their money elsewhere. While the issue of residents travelling to other areas such as Rockhampton to do their shopping is not new, the release of Gladstone City Council's retail study has finally put a figure on how much money local retailers are missing out on.

According to the report, in 2004 Gladstone residents spent $4.5 million or 20 per cent of their clothing and fashion budget outside of Gladstone.

Add to this the $9 million or 20 per cent of local homewares shopping budget which is also spent outside the region and it seems the issue is considerable.

A large portion of the money is reportedly being spent in Rockhampton.

Manager of Tom's Discount House Michael Penrose said it was frustrating that despite the hard work of local stores, some residents chose to go outside of the region to shop.

"It's always frustrating that the local retailer does all the work such as researching the product and coming up with a price and then customers choose to go outside of town to try and get a cheaper price,'' he said.

Cavaliers Menswear owner Michel Archay said the reason some locals shopped outside the region was a perception there was more variety.

"It's the mix of stores, like maybe Gladstone doesn't have enough choices,'' she said.

"I don't know if it's correct or not, I guess it's just the perception because of the size of the cities.''

According to the retail study, local shoppers felt there were other areas that could be improved in the local shopping scene.

Improvements such as better parking and safer entrances to complexes, more clothing and shoe stores and better leisure/entertainment facilities for children and youths, were amongst the suggestions made.

The suggestions come despite many locals reporting they were satisfied with local suburban shopping centres, showroom and bulky goods retail facilities.

However, only 45 per cent reported they were happy with CBD shops and only 48 per cent were happy with leisure and entertainment retailing.

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