Quake leaves Wellington retailers out in the cold for Christmas

Tills are ringing across the country as Christmas shoppers hit retailers.

But last month's quake has left some Wellington businesses out in the cold.

It's hardly the most welcoming sight - Queensgate Mall's half-demolished cinema complex. No one will fill the seats again, and the quake damage seems to have scared some shoppers away from stores that are open this Christmas.

But Queensgate isn't the only shopping area with problems; there are fewer feet pounding pavements across the region.

"It's significantly back," says First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson. "There's no doubt about that. Most of the retailers around the region, particularly Wellington and the Hutt, have experienced some fairly challenging times."

Mr Wilkinson says - as in Christchurch - the earthquake hasn't knocked just people back, but also their dollars.

"Almost definitely affects their attitude towards spending, confidence in terms of spending - we know that these sorts of things will return as things get back to normal."

The Kaikoura shake may have hit at the worst time for retailers, but central Wellington gift shop Iko Iko is proof that all is not lost.

"It's 10 times or at least five or six times your normal day at the moment, so if it's bad you're pretty stuffed really," says Iko Iko owner Thomasin Bollinger.

Ms Bollinger says she feels for those who are feeling the pinch.

"If we don't have a good Christmas we have a bad year."

Nationwide spending is up nearly 5.5 percent on this time last year, and with one week to go Wellington businesses will be hoping for a last-minute rush.

Newshub.

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