Bumper cruise-ship day boost for retailers

The busiest cruise-ship visit day of the season made for a packed Dunedin city centre yesterday, giving retailers a boost as signs point to increased Christmas spending this year.

Dunedin City Council business development adviser Sophie Barker said the more than 7000 passengers and crew from Sun Princess and Voyager of the Seas would have probably spent more than $500,000 in the city yesterday.

This gave a boost to some retailers and yesterday's i-Site report showed that ''pretty much all the tours were full'', she said.

The $500,000 boost came as the Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey released yesterday showed confidence levels were edging toward record highs. ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the survey augured well for the Christmas shopping period.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said yesterday's bumper cruise-ship day gave the city a ''big boost'' ahead of what was anecdotally looking like a better Christmas for retailers.

''I would expect that we would see some increases on last year, but until we see the data come through it's only anecdotal at this stage.''

Arthur Barnett general manager Sue Smaill agreed early signs were positive.

''We are in good shape at the moment, but it depends on what happens in the next 10 days.

''So we will be watching it day by day,'' she said.

The number of cruise-ship passengers in town boosted the foot traffic both at Arthur Barnett and the Meridian mall.

''It has given a lift, definitely. There has been a lot of people through,'' she said.

Cadbury World events manager Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana said staff were run off their feet yesterday, with 1000 people having taken a tour by about 3pm.

''It's chock-a-block - pun intended,'' Ms Ruwhiu-Karawana said.

The day left ''every other cruise-ship day this season in the dust'' and was one of the busiest on record.

Taieri Gorge Railway carried 900 passengers yesterday, chief executive Murray Bond said.

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