Oamaru retailers remain optimistic

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Despite various stores closing in Oamaru over recent months, retailers feel there is no need to panic.

At least six businesses in Oamaru have closed or are closing their doors in the near future. They include Just Incredible, Breens Nursery, Oamaru Cycle Works 1882, Adam’s Bookstore and Whisky Art Gallery. Former legal high store Super Save is also likely to close.

Even with more shops becoming vacant in the town, some retailers are coping well.

Online shopping is the biggest competition for stores in the area, with many people preferring to purchase online rather than shop around in-store.

The Otago Chamber of Commerce Oamaru spokesman Simon Berry said he did not believe there was an ongoing trend of business closures in Oamaru.

“Some may be closing, but I don’t think it’s anything major. I just think that winter plays a significant part in the fluctuating business retailers receive in winter months.”

Mr Berry said some businesses did find it tough in winter, but so did everyone, with more people wanting to stay inside.

However, McDiarmids store owner Grant McDiarmid said his store was not suffering too badly.

“Yes, we are a bit quieter over winter, but everyone is because customers don’t venture out as much.”

He also said he felt online shopping worked in his store’s favour rather than against it.

“We just love online shopping, as we compete against it, and make sure our prices are better than what customers can find online.”

He believes more people are buying online because of the strength of the dollar with buying goods from overseas and if that decreases, then he expects people back in stores.

Classic Clothing store manager Kay Sintmaartensdyk said shopping online benefited her business also.

“We actually gain quite a lot from people shopping online because we have our own website.”

Mrs Sintmaartensdyk said people often printed pictures from the website and brought them into the store.

“People print off things online, bring them in and either try the item on and buy it or simply check whether or not the item is in-store and if we have it, then they buy it from us.”

She said people did not need to be concerned with online shopping.

“It’s more common, but at the end of the day, shopping in-store is the best way.”

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY