Christmas expected to bring extra spending cheer to Waikato

Sisters on London store owner Julie Barbour says all signs point to an intensified healthy spend in the lead up to Christmas.

Sisters on London store owner Julie Barbour says all signs point to an intensified healthy spend in the lead up to Christmas.

Waikato retailers are predicting the cash registers will be ringing all the way to Christmas.

Talking to the region's shop owners produced an air of hope for the upcoming months, Retail NZ general manager of public affairs Greg Harford said.

"Over the winter period retailers were reporting things were a bit glum. Things haven't been going quite as well as they had been projecting. But everyone in the Waikato was pretty optimistic about how things were going to be in the lead up to Christmas," Harford said.

With less than a month to go until Christmas, the shopping was starting to ramp up, which has been helped by the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, he said.

These shopping traditions hail from the United States. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season there. Cyber Monday is the following Monday when people are back at their work desks after the holiday weekend and shopping online.

"It is becoming a key part of the Kiwi shopping calendar and it is becoming almost the start of the Christmas shopping rush period.

"A lot of that is because Kiwis are increasingly shopping online, they are increasingly shopping online from overseas and they are seeing what is happening overseas and retailers are responding to that by also celebrating the festivals in the same sorts of ways."

Over the next three-and-a-half weeks there is expected to be an increased build up to Christmas Eve, currently New Zealand's busiest shopping day.

Sisters on London store owner Julie Barbour said this was the first year she had really seen any Black Friday sales happening en masse in New Zealand.

"Before that it has really been an American thing. And it's only really the chain stores that have been doing it, rather than the New Zealand boutique stores." Barbour said.

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Gift wrapping requests were starting to pick up in the store, as were outfit purchases for the silly season functions, she said.

The start of December was when the shopping intensified, she said.

It's good vibes all around according to Hamilton Central Business Association general manager Vanessa Williams.

She has talked to a few retailers, and they all seemed to be feeling very positive about the upcoming Christmas shopping.

One reason for the positivity was an increase in American and European tourism in the region because of the Te Araroa cycle trail.

Hamilton's Trek and Travel was one of the businesses booming as a result of the increased tourist numbers, she said.

"Look, there's lots of good vibes, and a good positive feel around."

 - Stuff


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