Retailers are feeling the pinch after a mild start to winter,
with shoppers spending less on keeping warm.
Shoppers appear to have held off on forking out for winter
woolies and other cold weather essentials due to the
unseasonably warm temperatures.
The trend can be seen across retailers, from department
stores, to heatpump and firewood sellers.
Mark Johnston, chief executive of the Retailers Association,
said while no official figures had yet been released for June
spending, anecdotal feedback showed "sales have been a bit
soft over the last couple of months".
"Part of that is definitely down to the warmer weather," he
"It may well be that there are some bargains to be had
towards the end of the season, but things could change, we're
only a month into winter, we've still got July and August to
Benje Patterson, economist at Infometrics, said data showed
people were spending less on winter clothes in New Zealand.
"Some of that can be down to the fact that the weather has
been warmer, so people haven't been purchasing as many heavy
winter coats and so on, but there's also other factors that
are constraining the value of what's being spent on those
goods," he said, citing the high New Zealand dollar and
online purchases falling under Customs' tax threshold and
therefore not being recorded.
However, retailers themselves said while winter-specific
items had not been selling so well, overall sales were good.
Farmers managing director, Rod McDermott, said the department
store's June sales were "comfortably ahead of last year".
"Certainly the mild conditions and late arrival of cold
weather has meant sales are lower than normal for winter-only
type products in June," he said.
"Not much of a concern as winter and the cold do always
arrive in New Zealand."
A spokeswoman for The Warehouse said it had "been impacted by
unusual and sustained warm temperatures to date this autumn
"As a result, while sales are still above last year, sales of
seasonal apparel and home products, have been affected."
James Logan, director of heatpump retailer Energy Efficient
Solutions, said it had seen less interest from potential
"This June we had 35 per cent less leads than we normally
get, but sales were up 20 per cent.
"Lead volume is almost directly attributable to the season.
It's the mildest winter we've had since we've been in
business [since 2011]."
John Harris, owner of City Firewood in Christchurch, said the
mild weather had "made a difference".
"In the last two or three weeks, it's been busy, but
definitely a bit quieter than it would be if it was snowing,"
However, the polar blast predicted to hit this week had seen
an increase in sales yesterday [EDS: TUES].
"Winter sales are very spontaneous sales, if [people]
anticipate cold weather they freak out and come and buy."
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ