Slow day for sales as polar blast hits

Like the temperatures yesterday, the revenue generated by Dunedin businesses did not climb much above zero - leaving the city's services, manufacturing and retail sectors with an estimated $8 million loss.

About 70% of city retailers were closed for much of the day, with those opening reporting a significant decline in sales.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said, based on previous storms, he estimated yesterday's weather cost retailers, manufacturers and the service industry about $8 million.

Many in the service sector were able to work from home, but the manufacturing sector would be hard hit because products could not be made without staff.

"It's frustrating ... but you can't do anything about it. These things happen from time to time."

R&R Sport manager Duncan Randall said there was strong demand for hats, gloves and sleds, but little else was sold."It's been pretty quiet today. We will probably pay more on wages than [we got in] turnover."

Wild South spokeswoman Shona Coleman believed it was important to open because tourists were trapped in the city and still wanted to shop, but it had been quiet.

Other clothing and electronics stores in George St reported similar sales activity.

However, cafe and restaurant owners said the snow had less impact on their businesses.

Starbucks manager Liana Scarf said it was a typical Monday in terms of sales.

"I think it is because, this time, people are ... better prepared."

Progressive Enterprises national communications and public affairs manager Luke Schepen said Countdown's South Island supermarkets were open, but high demand for staples such as milk and bread had put pressure on supplies.

Foodstuffs retail general manager Alan Malcolmson said trucks were getting to Otago New World, Pak'n Save and Four Square stores, but he was monitoring the situation hourly.


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