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Local shops feeling the slow retail quarter hope for a good Christmas

Dec 5th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

SMALL retail businesses, like their larger supermarket counterparts, are feeling the blow from quiet sales but are hopeful for a busier Christmas.

Statistics New Zealand’s latest figures show that the value of total retail sales has fallen 0.8% in the last September quarter.

Supermarket and grocery stores, motor vehicle and parts retailing, and fuel retailing were hard hit and this trend was also seen in many Wellington shops.

Shop owners say that these numbers do not surprise them.

Terry McDavitt, co-owner of novelty science boutique The Met Shop, says they were affected by the flattish Wellington economy and sales were slow but not too bad.

“Winter was quite sluggish but it has tended to pick up since then,” Mr McDavitt says.

As Christmas shopping kicks in, Mr McDavitt is hopeful that sales will pick up and that The Met Shop will have similar Christmas sales to last year.

However, he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a bit lower.”

Karori clothing boutique Tinker Tailor has been open only since April but staff there are noticing changes in customer response.

Owner Richele McKenzie says shoppers are being more cautious because of the recession.

“People are buying small things. Through winter we sold a lot of scarves,” she says.

One shop owner is finding that buying behaviour is also changing with technology.

Clare O’Conner, manager and owner of Hopscotch Toys in Karori, says online shopping is a big factor in flatter sales.

“We used to be strong on games, and now they can bring it in cheaper from online shops like amazon.com,” says Mrs O’Conner.

However, Anna Hunt of Marsden Books says her shop is  not seeing this trend.

“We are a niche market. We’re part of the community and still seen as a quality product.

“We anticipate a similar Christmas to last year, but it’s hard to predict at this stage,” she says.

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