Dunedin residents should brace for a frantic week ahead as an
Otago Chamber of Commerce survey shows a significant number
of people are yet to start their Christmas shopping.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
the informal survey indicated only 12% of those surveyed had
completed their Christmas shopping, while 10% had still to
start, and the remainder still had shopping to do.
''I expect heavy trading on Saturday, Sunday and Monday,'' Mr
''A lot of people will take Monday off work. I have no doubt
that that is why a lot of people haven't started their
''The city is only going to get more hectic.
''As things get busier, people have to realise that they are
not going to be able to get as much personal attention from
shop assistants, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic is going
to be very busy.
''People will need to be patient,'' he said.
The survey also showed 40% of those surveyed intended to
spend less on Christmas than last year, 50% said they would
spend the same, and only 5% would spend more.
''The remainder won't spend anything,'' he said.
Paymark eftpos retail spending figures showed Otago consumers
spent $15.5 million at the weekend (December 15-16) - up 1%
on the same weekend last year (December 17-18).
Nationwide figures for the same weekends showed New Zealand
consumers spent $304 million this year, and $300.7 million
last year - a 1.1% increase.
Paymark sales and marketing head Paul Whiston said the data
showed Otago was moving broadly in track with growth areas of
New Zealand, and Otago was in the top half of regions in
terms of spending growth.
Meridian mall manager Michael Porter said Dunedin's largest
mall was not as busy as this time last year, but he expected
this Saturday to be the busiest retail day of the year.
''We're expecting more than 120,000 people through the doors,
which isn't bad for a town with a population of about
He said the past weekend had attracted about 50,000 shoppers
- up from the usual 37,000 people who passed through the mall
on weekends throughout the year.
He said the hot weather last Sunday might have contributed to
the ''flat'' day, with consumers preferring to be out in the
However, Mitre 10 Mega marketing and merchandising manager
Steven Loughrey credited the warm weather with a rise in
retail sales during the weekend.
''We definitely had a big uplift. It was almost like people
were inspired by the sun to do some DIY work around the
Mr Loughrey said last year people were ''a bit
cashstrapped'', but this year consumers appeared to be
spending more on large-ticket items such as new kitchens and
R&R Sport store manager Bryn Barnett said the
''traditional Christmas climb'' had begun and he had noticed
the store was 20% busier than this time last week.
Brent Weatherall Jeweller Ltd owner Brent Weatherall said the
past weekend had been very busy, but the best was yet to
''It hasn't been ridiculously busy yet - that will come this
weekend. It will be absolutely berserk,'' he said.
''The rush gets closer to Christmas every year, and this year
is no exception.
''Sales have been very strong. They are considerably ahead of
last year. They are up 15% to 20% to date on last year.''
Arthur Barnett general manager Sue Smaill said there was a
great Christmas ''buzz'' about the central city.
''There's certainly a lot more people around than last year.
''If consumers are wise, they will have all their shopping
done by Thursday, Friday or Saturday,'' she said.