Kiwi shoppers are being enticed into the famed New York
department stores of Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Saks Fifth
Avenue to do their Christmas shopping this year, in what is
seen as the latest nail in the coffin for High St retailers.
In a carefully-timed marketing ploy, described as "just in
time for the holidays", Kiwis can now enter the famous
American stores without even leaving their home.
They will be met with open arms, given exclusive online
deals, including 30 per cent discounts, free and discounted
shipping, free duties and returns, and are able to pay in US
dollars without currency conversions.
The exclusive online shopping offers come after a partnership
between MasterCard and internet shopping platform FiftyOne
Global Ecommerce, announced on Friday.
New Zealand cardholders can shop online and then punch in a
special code which will give them special access to the
"We're seeing an increased demand among consumers in
Asia/Pacific and the Middle East for merchandise from the
US," said MasterCard's Philip Yen.
"Feedback from our cardholders points to a desire for
attractive merchandise, with safe, convenient payment and
The offer is not open to US shoppers wanting to buy from New
The promotion will run from November 23 to December 10, and
is available to MasterCard cardholders across Asia/Pacific,
the Middle East and Africa.
It's believed that around a billion dollars is spent every
year through overseas websites.
Since parcels under NZ$400 avoid tax on entry to New Zealand,
it's costing the Government around $150 million a year and
it's increasing every month, said John Albertson, chief
executive of the New Zealand Retailers' Association.
"The Government is essentially subsidising offshore
retailers," he said.
Stores were struggling to compete price-wise with overseas
online retailers, especially on fashion items which can avoid
10 per cent in Duty and 15 per cent GST, Mr Albertson said.
"Retailers here have to compete and make offers that make
people shop with them, but to have a significant disadvantage
before they start ... it's a fairness and equity question."
Mr Albertson had no issue with the MasterCard offer, but
simply asked for a level playing field.
"If you're paying GST on goods bought in Christchurch, then
you should be paying GST on goods bought in New York, because
they're going to be consumed here in New Zealand."
Earlier this month, it was revealed that New Zealand stores
could introduce "fitting fees" after an alarming increase in
the number of people trying on clothes in store before buying
cheaper items online.
More than half of the New Zealanders questioned intended to
opt for convenience this Christmas and buy some of their
presents by clicking online rather than parking at the mall,
according to an Interactive Advertising Bureau of New Zealand
"Consumers are becoming more sophisticated, and retailers
need to better leverage online channels accordingly," said
Laura Maxwell-Hansen, IABNZ chair and general manager of
"Online shopping is borderless and while convenience is cited
as the number one reason to buy Christmas presents online,
price and range are also key factors."
Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive
Peter Townsend said the MasterCard offer was a sign of the
"New Zealand retailers need to stay on their toes," he said.
"We're in a rapidly changing environment and we need to keep
US stores in the MasterCard scheme include, Aeropostale,
Barneys New York, Bloomingdale's, Chef's Catalog, Eileen
Fisher, Fathead, Garnet Hill, Gilt Groupe, Guitar Center,
J.Crew, Jos A. Bank, Lane Bryant, Macy's, Motosport,
Musician's Friend, OverStock, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears,
Shoes.com, The Children's Place, Tommy Bahama, Warby Parker,
WoodWind & BrassWind and yLang.
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ