NZ retailers worried by lacklustre Christmas Eve trade

Kiwi retailers are worried at the drop in foot traffic through their doors on Sunday, on what's traditionally their busiest day of the year.

Despite New Zealand hitting a record high for electronic spending, Christmas Eve has failed to live up to expectations.

Because Christmas falls on a Monday, it's Friday that inherited the busiest shopping day, with astronomical results.

Eftpos terminals all over the country were working overtime this week, with record-breaking transactions - an increase of 5 percent from last year.

Paul Brisen, Paymark communications manager, told Newshub it recorded "179 transactions per second, which is the busiest we've ever been across the network during the lunch break on Friday, and for the day the total spending was just shy of $300 million."

But a retail manager told Newshub consumer levels were surprisingly low on Sunday and that other managers she had spoken to were experiencing the same worrying sales for a traditionally busy Christmas Eve.

Perhaps it's the never-ending train of drivers seen leaving the city on Saturday, taking potential customers with them, or the fact that it's Marlborough that's still shopping, spending the most money for Christmas overall.

Mr Birsen said: "Every region of the country grew quite significantly, but in Marlborough they were up 23 percent, and partly that's due to the bounce-back from the Kaikōura earthquake. We include Kaikōura in the Marlborough figures."

While retailers will be counting a surprise loss of profit on Sunday, others are counting themselves lucky to have the shops all to themselves.


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