Ruck and mall for gift buyers
Last-minute panic shopping has the tills ringing hot in the countdown to Christmas.
Retailers are reporting strong sales and expect December spending will be up on last year's turnover.
New Zealand Retailers' Association chief executive John Albertson said he expected December spending to be 4 to 4.5 per cent higher than 2012 figures.
Now that online shopping has finished due to postal deadlines, Christmas shoppers are storming the stores, he said.
"The last three or four days make all the difference. I'm sure we're going to see a huge weekend followed by a very big Monday and Tuesday.
"The general atmosphere among retailers has been positive. We've had positive signs from the start of the month."
Falgan Patel braved St Lukes shopping centre in Auckland yesterday to grab some final Christmas gifts.
"It was pretty chocka, just lots of people. I have never seen it like this at Christmas before."
His son, Krishna, turns six on Christmas Eve so birthday present shopping had to be squeezed in as well.
The Auckland father picked up some portable DVD players to keep the children entertained as he heads away on holiday to the Far North today.
Some boogie boards and an Xbox also made sure the children would be occupied rain or shine.
The week leading up to Christmas is the busiest shopping time of the year, and Christmas Eve is normally the busiest day.
Paymark spending figures released on Monday revealed shoppers were going strong in the first two weeks of December.
Sales hit $2.2 billion in the first half of December, up by 7.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2012.
Electronics saw the biggest surge in sales at the start of December.
The latest Paymark figures on spending are expected to be released tomorrow.
Sunday Star Times