Christmas shopping chaos hits

Busy escalators in a shopping mall - long exposure time so shoppers moving are deliberately blurred - escalator in focus
Photo credit: Getty

There's only two weekends left before Christmas and malls are packed with shoppers looking for the perfect gift.

Scentre spokesperson Deb McGhie says Westfield malls are all very busy, but she says it hasn't peaked yet and expects it to get busier.

Staff at both Westfield Albany and Westfield St Lukes confirmed it was busy on Saturday and both malls' carparks were nearing full capacity.

If you're not up to a fight for the right gift in a packed mall, Ms McGhie has some advice to help avoid the battle.

She advises shoppers plan ahead to make sure they get what they need and have an idea of what shops need to be visited.

All Westfield malls currently have extended hours, something Ms McGhie says could be helpful to some shoppers if they want to plan to come in off peak.

Finding a carpark space is can often be a headache, so can getting out of the carpark.

In Dunedin shoppers complained of taking so long to exit a mall their parking tickets expired, with one shopper complaining they had been at a standstill in traffic for 13 minutes.

Ms McGhie said her group has learned a lesson in controlling the car park over Christmas in the past few years and they now use car park attendants to try and manage the flow of traffic in busy periods.

An Auckland Transport spokesperson said they weren't aware of any particularly bad spots of traffic around the malls over Christmas but it was to be expected there would be increased congestion.