Retailers are having themselves a merry little Christmas as
thousands of last-minute shoppers fill stores across Otago.
''It's been very busy ... it's fantastic,'' Rebecca
Portsmouth, store manager at The Warehouse in Frankton, said
''It's been steadily building, but we've had queues outside
the door most days.''
Larger retailers across the province reported lines outside
stores before Saturday morning opening hours, while extended
late-night shopping hours had also proved popular.
For the past fortnight, The Warehouse had been staying open
until midnight, with a ''surprising'' number of people
choosing to do their Christmas shopping late at night.
''We're doing a couple of grand between 11pm and midnight,''
Dunedin Farmers store manager Shelly Gilchrist said extending
store hours until midnight for several days last week had
proved popular, particularly with families and even the odd
''There has been plenty of last-minute shoppers for us.''
Christmas Eve was likely to be a steady day for the business,
''but at 6pm when we close we are likely to have people
asking us why we aren't open to midnight'', she said.
Keith Gillies, of Milton's Chapel Gardens, said their stall
at Dunedin's Stadium Market had its best day of trading since
the opening market day.
''It has been very pleasing,'' he said.
Cromwell Paper Plus manager Aimee Paardekooper said the shop
had been ''really busy'' with people ''really excited about
Christmas'' buying gifts such as toys, as well as books.
She said trading over the month of December was on a par with
last year, ''if not slightly up''.
Alexandra New World owner Kevin Ryan said yesterday was
''shaping up to be the third busiest day of the year''.
He said it was ''definitely'' busier than last year in the
lead-up to Christmas and put that down to which day the
holiday fell on, saying because it was on Tuesday, many
people had taken the Monday off work and headed to Central
Otago on holiday earlier than they did last year.
In Queenstown, gift store In The Pink reported one of the
busiest build-ups to Christmas in its 10-year history.
Owner Victoria Lund said staff at the store had been rushed
off their feet, and ''it's better than every previous year''.