Well after a few weeks the trees are up and the retailers are heavily advertising, but is the council doing enough to support retailers over the festive season? The two trees are a nice touch in Midland Park and Courtenay Place and a strengthened Santa parade will be great as are the decorations on the Cable Car and Railway Station but this year's effort just shows the challenges of doing a big marketing push on a pretty limited budget ($550,000). It just costs a lot to the kind of marketing that might be of assistance, putting aside for now whether we should be pushing Xmas as a consumption exercise.
The bigger question is whether cities should be supporting retail and if so, how best is it done? It has been a brutal time for retailers and most will feel for them, particularly the small-scale ones. But city budgets are generally pretty limited and it is difficult to see how councils around the world can fight the trend for people to shop on line whilst fighting against a sluggish global economy. Still the retailers seem to be happy so we will await a post-mortem.