Editorial: More options than ever for shoppers

WARWICK RASMUSSEN DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 12:00 27/12/2012

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Have shoppers and retailers grown out of the madness of Boxing Day shopping sales?

There's no doubt that the day is still a big one for shops and shoppers, but in recent years it's lost a lot of its power.

In years gone by it was the day to get a bargain.

Now, though, the retail environment is so cut-throat and margins are so tight that shop owners simply can't put all their eggs in one basket and hope for the best on the big day.

Many try to jump the gun and have their Boxing Day sales earlier in the month, in a bid to pre-empt the competition.

But it's not just the shop down the road that they're competing with, they're taking on the rest of the world, too.

With favourable exchange rates, a little bit of searching and some pre-planning, more and more shoppers are realising that they don't even have to leave home to find some great bargains.

And when it comes to Boxing Day, many have decided it's the way to go, rather than tackle the usual crowds and heat, all in a bid to save a few bucks on some items that they could probably live without.

With consumer behaviour changing every year, the people selling the goods need to adapt to survive. If they operate online, they have to foot it with many others on price, while if they are a store only they really have to go all out with service.

It was interesting to see yesterday the contrasts in Palmerston North's traditional retail area, Broadway.

While some, mainly chainstores, were open, the majority of shops had shut up shop.

Was that a sign that the smaller places simply don't see any point in battling the big players or that they chose to be more strategic about how they trade?

Whatever the case may be, the reality is that the retail landscape is shifting, and shifting rapidly. While things are obviously tough during tight economic times, habits have changed and businesses must realise that things are never going to go back to the way they once were.

ONE MORE THING

Where the heck did that come from? December was playing its usual changeable weather games and then hits us all with a couple of scorchers on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The mercury easily topped 30 degrees Celsius in the shade and you'd hate to guess how high it got in the direct sunlight.

It's great beach weather, but it's still tough going if you're not used to it. On Christmas Day, Palmerston North was hotter than Rarotonga. That just doesn't seem right for some reason.

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- Manawatu Standard

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