Quite a handful
The struggle to keep kids entertained during the school holidays led to a loosening of purse-strings by Palmerston North punters during the last two weeks.
Downtown Cinema administration manger Kaye Henricksen said they had to increase staff numbers for the two-week period to prepare for school-holiday mayhem.
"We sort of have to get prepared with products early but there isn't a whole lot we can do in advance. We can't prepare heaps of icecreams in advance because the cones go soft.
"Winter holidays are generally busier than the warmer months for the cinema."
Melody's New World store manager Kelly Melody said the company expected sales in ham and luncheon meat to go up this weekend.
Sarah Woods said she spent a lot of money during the school holidays, especially in winter.
The past two weeks had been particularly hard on the pocket, she said.
"We've been on holiday to Christchurch, Lollipop's [Playland] and those sorts of things." Her boys, Connor Woods, 4, and Ruben Woods, 6, weren't fussed about the cost.
Connor said his favourite part was heading to Christchurch to see his cousins.
"I liked going to the zoo," Ruben said.
School holidays were the busiest time of year for Smiggle in The Plaza, store manager Shannon O'Neil said.
Spending this weekend should pick up even more as people return from their trips out of town and prepare for the return to school.
Fish Spot assistant Morgan Beugelsdyk said she noticed people tended to spend more in the first week of the holidays.
"I guess people are excited for the holidays, then it gets to the second week and they're all spent."
Palmerston North mum of three Zara Dickson tries to keep school holidays as cheap as possible by sticking to the free events on offer.
She said the first week was more expensive.
"I try to keep the kids occupied with stuff that can be carried over the two weeks . . . craft stuff from the $2 shop, but even that can get pretty expensive."