By Chris Nicholls

BRISBANE: BSR Australia has announced “excellent trading throughout the festive season”, including a strong take in the traditional Christmas sales period and early in the New Year.

General manager Ian Brown said recent rises in interest rates and high petrol prices did not appear to have dented consumer confidence.

“Group sales were up significantly in December on a like-for-like comparison and trading post-Christmas continues to be strong.”

As reported previously on, the Queensland-based retail franchise group recorded 15.95 per cent year-on-year growth over the December 25 to 31 period, but could only manage a 6.45 per cent rise for the period from December 4 to 24.

However, with the strong post-Christmas result, the group posted an eight per cent increase on 2006 for the month.

BSR Group managing director Ian Brown said the strength of the post-Christmas figures followed recent industry efforts to boost spending after the traditional Christmas shopping period.

“That seems to be the industry trend now. Our competitors are spending an enormous amount of money on post-Christmas sales and what that does is that has a flow on effect to everyone,” he said. 

The results mean BSR’s like-for-like sales have now increased every month since April.

According to a statement, demand for electrical products was extremely strong, particularly for portable appliances, brown goods and air conditioners. The group’s Susan’s Gift Card offer, conducted with Sunbeam, meant small appliances also apparently did well.

“Looking at the hot products for 2008, it’s hard to single out specific items but, in terms of categories, we expect personal electrical and IT technology goods to continue to perform strongly,” he said. “One emerging trend we’ve noticed is the increasingly popularity of store gift cards.

He said it was a relatively new category, but one that customers responded to “extremely well” over Christmas.