Retailers hope for late night sales lift

HAMISH CARDWELL
Last updated 11:34 18/12/2012

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Retailers in Blenheim's centre expect late night Christmas shopping to improve after average sales last week.

Stores will be open for late night shopping on Thursday, with free parking from 4pm.

A survey of eight retailers by the Marlborough Express on Friday found most had a slow evening on Thursday, with only Farmers Blenheim busy.

Blenheim Bookworld co-owner Charlene Scott said describing the late night shopping as average was probably the nicest thing to say about it "but you have to try these things".

"I think Thursday will be very busy . . . Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be huge days as well."

In total, $43.7 million was spent in Marlborough last month, up 1.1 per cent from $43.2m in November last year, Paymark figures show.

From December 6 to December 12, $11.8m was spent through the Paymark network in Marlborough, an increase of 3.5 per cent from $11.4m in the same period last year.

Paymark processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

Thomas's saleswoman Katie Aviss said late night shopping had been quieter than expected.

Ms Aviss said after she finished her shift at 7.30pm on Thursday, it was very quiet around the town.

"Maybe people didn't really know that we were open late, but now, because it has happened once, people will know about it."

Co-owner Tim Thomas said trading was down slightly on last year but he expected sales to soon pick up.

He said "when Christmas falls on a Tuesday, people are much more comfortable leaving it a bit later, because they have all weekend to do their shopping".

Cresswell Shoes co-owner Jacquelene Sandford said opening late was "was very much a non-event" and "has not been beneficial for us".

She said the start of the year had been a struggle but things had improved in the leadup to Christmas and the outlook was positive.

Farmers Blenheim store manager Karen Stevenson said late night shopping at the store had been "amazingly great".

"After Shortland Street and Coronation Street, we get every man and his dog coming in.

"There were still queues at 11pm on Thursday."

She said the shop's takings were well up on last year and a combination of day-to-day and late night specials were attracting people.

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- The Marlborough Express

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