Shoppers flocked to Stockland Gladstone on Boxing Day 2018 to take advantage of yearly specials.
Shoppers flocked to Stockland Gladstone on Boxing Day 2018 to take advantage of yearly specials. Matt Taylor GLA261218SHOP

City's Boxing Day frenzy paves way for next year's business

THE busiest day on the retail calender was a welcome boost for Gladstone's business sector.

The National Retail Association predicted yesterday's Boxing Day sales were worth $2.49 billion nationwide, and Gladstone was no exception to the consumer frenzy.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland head of industry Dan Petrie said the city would benefit greatly from the shopping boom.

Me Petrie said Gladstone's resources and retail sectors were linked.

"We've seen levels of export in volumes going out of the Gladstone port which is very positive, the area is starting to emerge from what has been quite a difficult time," Mr Petrie said.

As a city "tied to the cyclical nature of resources and commodities", Mr Petrie said Gladstone often owed its periods of economic success to port-related developments, which was not necessarily a good thing in the long run.

"We need to see, from an economic perspective, a more level and equal line of growth so people can have sustainability in work, not chopping and changing and cycling around projects," he said.

"But things seem to be somewhat more elevated now so we can see an improvement in economic activity over the coming 12 months."

Mr Petrie said a strong Christmas period could lay the foundation for Gladstone's local businesses in 2019.

"It's up to bigger businesses too, to engage smaller businesses so we can actually see better employment outcomes," he said.

"The biggest employer of people in Queensland is the small business sector."

He said with a 1.1 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, Queensland had achieved retail figures three times the national average and this was great news following "a subdued economic year".

"Business confidence data has been lacklustre, we've seen more pessimists than optimists, but it's important for consumers and workers to look through negative headlines and focus on the reality on the ground," Mr Petrie said.

NRA chief Dominique Lamb said this year's Boxing Day sales were expected to be the highest ever, with Queensland cracking the $400 million mark for the first time.