Spending spree expected

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 26/12/2012

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Palmerston North shoppers gearing up to whip out the plastic and hit the sales racks in search of some Boxing Day bargains may miss a familiar face in Broadway Ave.

GQ menswear shop owner Ralph Bare will not be opening his doors today for one of the biggest trading days of the year.

Boxing Day came early for his customers - and it's the final one after 24 years for the Broadway stalwart, who will soon shut up shop for good.

Mr Bare swapped his trademark suit for some casual attire for the Christmas sales period, which held special significance for the retailing veteran as he farewells Broadway to pursue other avenues in January.

He said had been working seven days a week in the leadup to the early December 23 sale, when suits and ties flew out the door.

"It was wonderful, it was our best day yet. But I definitely will be looking forward to lying on my back in the sun," Mr Bare said. "It has been a good Manawatu summer. This is just like it used to be when I first came here in 1968."

Heather Infield's four children also held their Christmas Day celebrations early as they were going away to visit family on the big day. That meant no Boxing Day bargain rush for the kids to spend their Christmas cash.

"They will be in the big city of Taihape with their grandparents."

Cory Rogan was among those planning to hit the sales. "I'll have a look, mainly for the last-minute Christmas gifts, that would be about it."

Paymark, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, released figures on Christmas Eve showing spending across the country last week was up 30.6 per cent on the first week of December, and up 3.4 per cent for the three weeks ended December 23, to gather a total of $1.3 billion in the week leading up to Christmas.

In Palmerston North, spending was up 2.7 per cent on last year for the month leading up to Christmas to a total $109.2 million. Spending was also up 2.3 per cent for the week ended December 23, with shoppers spending $41.3 million at the tills.

Retailers would have to wait and see what happened this year, but the figures so far pointed to a rosy finish for Palmerston North traders, Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said.

"It is very difficult to say what is going to happen but if you look at the previous years' figures it has been strong, traditionally."

Palmerston North had among the healthiest Boxing Day sales figures in the country last year, with an increase of 8.4 per cent on the previous year with retailers taking $2.9 million on the day.

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Boxing Day was not the trading dream it once was as savvy shoppers topped up petrol and groceries in the week leading up to Christmas to avoid the rush.

Retailers appeared to be changing their trading patterns to suit, as GQ had done, Mr Tong said.

"In the last one or two years they have started having sales early and trading has changed in style."

- Manawatu Standard

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