Last minute shoppers keep tills ringing

23:37, Dec 23 2012
Southland Times photo
In The Pink retail angels Minami Inoue and Kharma Mains ready to help last minute shoppers find the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Last minute shoppers are putting a smile on the faces of Queenstown retailers.

Several retailers are reporting a busier Christmas than last year and some are expecting a record-breaker by the time they close tonight.

Michael Hill Jeweller Queenstown manager Chris Hogan said they were getting close to doing a record Christmas by 11am.

The shop's records began in 2000.

Shoppers seemed to be a little more organised this year with sales steady for the past week.

''We've had a very busy week.''

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It was mainly men out shopping today, which was expected, he said.

Wilkinson's Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson said business had been steady all morning and he expected it to increase throughout the day.

''It's looking better than last year. We've had a good steady build up to Christmas. It's positive and hopefully the weather will stay good and it will continue into the New Year.''

He expected to see a lot of men today as many only finished work on Friday.

The pharmacy would stay open until 10pm and people would still be shopping then, he said.

In The Pink gift store owner Victoria Lund also reported a really busy week and said her staff were prepared for a long day selling to last minute shoppers.

''We will keep the doors open until people stop shopping tonight. We had a surge yesterday afternoon and were really busy for a Sunday and didn't close until 8pm.''

Although it was really busy, shoppers were still watching their money, she said.

''People are still being careful, the average spend on a gift is about $20 to $30.''

Shoppers were looking for funny, quirky presents this year and men accounted for the majority of last minute shoppers.

''Christmas Eve is men, single men mainly. It would be about an 80/20 percent split,'' she said.

Of those leaving their shopping until the last minute, Ms Lund said it was mainly men.

Bianca Gibson , 13, who has spent five days offering a free gift wrapping service in O'Connells Pavilion said it had been well utilised by shoppers, especially visitors.

The Southland Times