Mall boss says online shopping hasn't hurt retail this Christmas

Shopping malls are bursting at the seams as Kiwis make a mad dash for last-minute present buys. 

A spokesperson for a number of Auckland Westfield malls says this weekend is living up to its title of the busiest time of year. 

Scentre Group regional manager Paul Gardner says online shopping hasn't had an impact.

"Unless you've completed your online shopping by - at the very latest - the end of November, you can't be certain... it's going to arrive. So online shopping ceases to be any kind of matter."

Eftpos operator Paymark spokesperson Paul Brislen says spending habits have shifted away from gradual growth, to a two-peak model.

"The first peak being Black Friday, and that long weekend of retail shopping has really changed the first half of the Christmas season quite dramatically." 

Brislen says the busiest time is on Christmas Eve at 12:30pm.

"Typically a normal day for Paymark we see 60 transactions a second. The biggest peak we've seen so far was Christmas Eve not last year, but the year before - that was 177 transactions a second."

New late-night shopping mall hours are proving to be popular for the last-minute Christmas dash too. A number of Auckland Westfield malls are closing at midnight over the next two days. 

Gardner says it's the best way to avoid crowds.

"This helps with the otherwise congested period during the daytime... It was very busy up until 10pm."

He says it won't let up until 6pm on Christmas Eve.

"Then we go into a different phase for Boxing Day."

GST on internet purchases less than $1000 came into force on December 1, for retailers selling products in New Zealand, if they sell more than $60,000 worth of goods here annually.

"We're fully supportive of the Government's move to collect GST on low-value imports," Trade Me head of marketplace Lisa Stewart told Newshub at the time. "We definitely think this will level the online retail playing field for Kiwi businesses."