Shoppers have CBD 'humming'

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2013
shopping
SEASONAL SHOPPING: Anita, Hayden and Patrick Dawson, 4, of Timaru, look for bargains in the lead-up to Christmas. South Canterbury appears to be experiencing its usual seasonal uptick of spending.

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Timaru shoppers are not holding back this Christmas, with an increase in retail spending compared with 12 months ago.

The latest South Canterbury figures, released by Paymark yesterday, revealed it processed $61.3 million in transactions in the period from December 1 to 20, up 3.5 per cent on the same period last year.

Paymark processes the majority of Eftpos transactions.

Part of the increase would be due to inflation, but Timaru Retail Association chairman Keith McRobie said the central business district had been "humming".

"The lead-up to Christmas is an interesting time for retailers, because if people want something, they want it right then," he said.

"We were actually lucky it was raining over the weekend.

"It meant people had nothing to do but go to the shops for Christmas."

Meanwhile, couriers have also been kept busy delivering presents to the door in the lead-up to Christmas.

Online shopping has changed the dynamic of courier business Fastway, Dave Streatfield, general manager for Fastway Canterbury, said.

Some of the firm's vans, which operate between Kaikoura and Palmerston, were towing trailers to cope with the volume of mail, Mr Streatfield said.

"Basically, the increase in online has been huge," he said.

This year had been very different from previous years, Mr Streatfield said.

Last year, the company noticed an increase in mail volume in November, which then fell about mid-December.

However, this year, a very late run started in December and had not fallen off, he said.

Extra staff had been put on at the firm's Christchurch hub, which feeds out to Timaru and Oamaru.

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- The Timaru Herald

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