Mall turns away customers
Cantabrians are flocking to the malls in the lead up to the Christmas rush.
Parking attendants at Westfield Riccarton were this week seen blocking entrances, waving people away, and shaking their heads while a line of cars left the roof parking.
Centre manager Helen Ronald said the mall had to add eight to 12 parking attendants to organise the busy car park until Christmas.
''Every so often . . . we just ask people not to come in for five minutes, just to get the flow going again. Otherwise people who want to get out can't because the cars block up the exit,'' she said.
Shoppers were directed around the corner, Ronald said.
The shopping centre's annual turnover jumped from $353.1m in 2010 to $407.1m in 2011.
Sales kept growing in 2012 to $421.1m.
Riccarton was one of the strongest shopping centres in Westfield's New Zealand portfolio, Ronald said.
Northlands Shopping Centre spokesman Karl Retief said the Christmas rush at the Papanui mall started this week.
''We definitely see a lift in number already, but the real busy period probably starts next week because everyone tends to leave their shopping until the last week before Christmas,'' he said.
An extra 109 staff car parks would be made available to shoppers from Monday
The central city's Re:Start mall had a festive atmosphere yesterday, with shoppers carrying bags full of presents in its alleys.
Johnson's Grocer was particularly packed with tourists and locals buying Christmas puddings, cranberry sauces and muscatels. Owner Colin Johnson said the week had been busy.
''There's a lovely atmosphere in the whole complex. It's very pleasing,'' he said.
According to the latest Paymark figures, Cantabrians spent $502 million last month - $42m more than November last year.
Figures recording spending for the first seven days of December showed shoppers had spent more on food and liquor this year than last year.