Xmas sales similar to last year, retailers say

A steady stream of Christmas shoppers flowed through Dunedin shops at the weekend, but retailers say it is too early to know whether spending is up on last year.

The centre of Dunedin was busy without being packed at the weekend, shop assistants spoken to by the Otago Daily Times saying sales had been similar to last year's Christmas period.

Toy World Dunedin branch owner Linda Verity said it was quieter than usual at the start of December, but the slow start had been balanced out by a ''stronger finish'' over the past 12 days.

At this point it was about the same as last year, but there were still a couple of days to go, Ms Verity said.

Lego had been a popular gift for both girls and boys this year, toys based on the television series Peppa Pig and Doc McStuffins being popular for girls and toys based on the computer game Minecraft popular for boys, she said.

Acquisitions team leader Hugh Spiers said shopping trends had been similar to, or perhaps slightly busier than, last year.

''It's been the same sort of shopping patterns as well. There are the people that need to get things posted [getting in early], then there are the guys that have just finished work coming in now, wearing their overalls.''

After a quieter-than-expected day yesterday, Mr Spiers was expecting it to be ''absolutely crazy'' today.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said a lack of sales data meant it was too early to say whether Christmas sales would be up on last year.

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