Mixed perceptions of city's holiday weekend trading

 Carol and John Sutherland, of Balclutha, imagine their new garden while shopping at Nichols...
Carol and John Sutherland, of Balclutha, imagine their new garden while shopping at Nichols Garden Centre yesterday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Temperamental  weather contributed to the mixed bag that was Dunedin's retail sales this Labour Weekend.

Nichols Garden Centre duty manager Caroline Jamieson said trading over the long weekend was mostly steady, but slightly slower on Sunday because of the rain.

In contrast to other businesses, garden centres were busiest during sunny days, she said.

``But I'm amazed at how many gardeners came out anyway. You also get the people doing landscaping projects and things like that. Some people come on a rainy day because they think it'll be quiet.''

It was hard to compare with previous years, she said.

``Traditionally it is a very busy weekend.''

My Mate John's Furniture Warehouse sales manager Ian Cameron said its Labour Weekend sales were up 15% to 20% on the previous year.

``We were flat out. It's definitely because of the rain. Also, everyone has a sale on Monday so the punters are out. It's really good for us.''

Saturday was quieter as people were out enjoying the sunny weather, he said.

A Mitre 10 Mega spokeswoman said the store was ``very busy'' yesterday.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said it seemed from speaking to a few business people sales were slightly down this Labour Weekend.

``It was just a bit quiet this weekend. Not as many people in town.''

However, there was a trend which had developed in recent years whereby people would do early Christmas shopping at Labour Weekend.

``It'll be interesting to see the receipts in the next few days to see if that's continuing,'' he said.

``We've seen that people want to spread out those payments.''

The ``big box'' stores which could offer large discounts traditionally did well over Labour Weekend, he said.


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