Jewellery retailer tells of slow business death

Rings N' Things manager Stacey Fraser hangs a closing  sale sign  outside the Dunedin jewellery shop yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Rings N' Things manager Stacey Fraser hangs a closing sale sign outside the Dunedin jewellery shop yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

A lack of foot traffic and impulse purchases caused the slow retail death of Dunedin jewellery shop.

Rings N' Things owner Grant Henderson, of Dunedin, said his jewellery shop in George St was closing after ''battling'' with declining sales for the past two years.

The shop opened in Dunedin 13 years ago and at its peak had four staff working the sales floor.

''Now you could put out an honesty box.''

Mr Henderson said he should have closed the shop earlier, when it was losing $10,000 a month, but had hoped for a retail ''miracle''.

''Last year, I thought: It can't get worse than this.''

He considered battling through winter to spring and the cruise ship passenger arrivals but the business leaking money forced the decision to close and making full-time manager Stacey Fraser redundant.

The shop's two part-time staff would be relocated to another business he owned - Moonshine Jewellery in Meridian mall, a kiosk next to Kmart.

Rings N' Things had been more lucrative than the kiosk for many years but the fortunes had changed.

The shop location was failing to attract customers, he said.

''This block has died. There are days in winter you could shoot a cruise missile down the street and you wouldn't hit anybody.''

He relied on walk-in customers making impulse purchases, so a lack of foot traffic hurt the business.

Only ''destination shops'' could survive outside the hottest retail area in Dunedin, closer to, or inside, the malls, he said.

In winter, people shopped in the warmer mall shopping rather walking between the shops in the cold.

Although the kiosk rent was more than the shop, the kiosk had more sales because the goods caught the eyes of passers-by.

Browsing a kiosk was less intimidating for customers than entering a shop, he said.

Since the ''closing down sale'' sign went up outside the shop, turnover doubled.

Customers were being attracted by the prospect of a bargain and often bought non-sale goods, revealing a market for the goods in Dunedin in a location with more people passing.

In two months, he expected the sale to end and the shop to close and he would ''regroup'' by focusing on his kiosk and paying off debt.



Lynden: in the early days of the rugby stadium debacle the city found itself starting to feel a little short, so they installed more parking spaces an extra block or two deep round the middle of town, they also converted most of the disabled parking spaces (previously found on most blocks) into paid parking spaces.

The city doesn't just suck money out of people to pay for the rugby stadium financial disaster through rates.

Now how many of those parks at the rugby stadium do you think are used for free ?

Free parking in George Street

The Observer is so right. Mr Robert Tongue, eminent city architect when we had such position, recrafted George Street to make it a most pleasant place to shop. Trees, street furniture, pavings etc. He got rid of the parking meters and parking was allowed for 10min and 30 min periods. It worked very well, it engendered a spirit of goodwill and added to the attraction of shopping in the main street.

The then chairman of the transportation committee, one very short sighted with flawed judgement, Councillor Michael Guest promoted the imposition of paid parking supposedly on the platform of fairness to all drivers. Strange that an accounting firm was charged with the feasibility and not a traffic consulting agency.

Now people go to the large big box shops where there is free parking.

Let us go back to free parking in the main street. There are 36 parks. Gross income $200k using the previous mentioned councillor's occupancy figures. Not much for civility.

Grab back our soul. Free parking in George Street. [abridged]

Business death

The comment by "The Observer" has hit the nail on the head.  The DCC just keeps on putting more nails in Dunedin's coffin.


Long before

The Observer: Sorry to burst your bubble but the meters were there long before the stadium not as a result of it.


It's simple. Parking meters installed to pay for that eyesore white elephant stadium have completely drained the appeal of Dunedin's main shopping streets. 

Economic death of Dunedin

I am sorry to hear that yet another business is closing its doors. it is only a month ago that my friend's building company was forced to close due to economic difficulties. It must be gut-wrenching to watch everything you have built over may years disappear before you. Now just look around at our city, unless you are blind you will see the the dozens of empty shops from South Dunedin through Princes Street and George Street. With our almost $650 million in consolidated debt we have the dubious honour of being the second most debt-laden per head ratepayer city behind Auckland. There is no economic growth and Dunedin's population remains stagnant despite council's utterly ineffective 10-year plan to increase our population by 10,000. We have a council that can still bail out the ORFC and lose $3.1 million at Carisbrook, underwrite soccer matches and concerts that lose hundreds of thousands and run a stadium sucking the financial life blood out of the city. Even the airlines have diverted flights away from Dunedin to Queenstown costing us 12,000 less visitors per annum. When are Dunedin people finally going to get it? We must pay off debt and spend money on proper economic growth to get Dunedin moving. We are watching the City die before our eyes whilst Dave Cull does nothing. Cyclists won't need expensive cycleways soon as they will be quite safe riding around the empty City Centre.

Economic death by a thousand cuts

I feel for you and congratulate you on holding on for so long against the odds. This is an example of death by a thousand cuts policy (currently happening at the Dunedin hospital) that is being waged against the regions by our government. Your sales may have been better if the cutting and slashing of everything in Otago to make up for the poor performance in Wellington
was not policy. The average person in the street just does not have the money anymore in this town. Reduce the government expenditure and everyone suffers. For example, less money for the unemployed means less money for every business that may have been frequented by them, which means less ability to hold on to staff which means less money going to the community, and that means less money to go around.
The truth is that the poorest in our society actually are the ones who support the society by spending everything that they get. Give them more and see the society prosper as the money flows through the community to shops like yours. I don't just mean the unemployed. Those on the minimum wage need a raise to at least $16 an hour. Instead of demonising the poor the system needs to support them for everybody’s sake. Raising the minimum wage would not cost jobs but create them as these people would spend their money in the community that they live.


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