The beauty industry was more profitable than ever in 2016, and New Zealand consumers finally got to reap some benefits from it. Sephora launched an online store offering and Mecca Maxima opened a store in Christchurch's CBD, satisfying the calls of makeup lovers around the nation. We predict this trend will continue to blossom into 2017 - could a Sephora bricks and store on the cards, perhaps?
9. Watch out, Ponsonby: Takapuna's retail and hospitality scene takes shape
North Shore's Takapuna experienced a revival this year that saw it shaping up to be a competitor with the likes of Ponsonby Rd. The arrival of Kombi Coffee, Burger Burger and Fish Fish to the brand-new outdoor dining lane, Fortieth and Hurstmere, saw the suburb's popularity boom, while new shop additions like Superette are drawing in shoppers and reinvigorating the once-tired suburb.
8. Australian homewares retailer Adairs launches in New Zealand
Adairs opened its first ever international store in Auckland earlier this year, putting it in direct competition with Briscoes, Farmers, Kmart and The Warehouse. The store was a big deal for the homeware brand as it's Adairs first physical store outside Australia. The chain has more than 140 stores across the ditch.
7. Victoria's Secret opens its first New Zealand store
We may have dubbed 2015 the year of the international giants, but 2016 was just as busy for arrivals. Following in the footsteps of Topshop, H&M and Zara, Victoria's Secret quietly opened its first ever store here in Auckland Airport's international departures terminal. Unlike its massive overseas stores, its product range is more refined, offering just fragrances, accessories and cosmetics.
6. Frucor’s new ‘Quicksilver’ tie-in drink resembles mercury
Frucor's limited edition drink it put out earlier this year caught the attention of many, mostly due to its opaque, grey-coloured, sparkling texture that moves inside the bottle when it’s shaken. The dangerous-looking (but completely safe) drink resembling liquid mercury went on sale to promote the release of the X-Men Apocalypse movie.
5. New Zealand's endless summer hurts retail sales
Retailers’ bottom dollars are often affected by changes in seasonal weather patterns, and this year's lingering summer weather put a dent in retailers' sales. According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand experienced the sixth-warmest April on record in 2016, which may have explained why a lot of apparel retailers didn't put out their greatest performances this year.
4. Topshop and Topman Wellington announce opening date
While Topshop's Queen St arrival was talk of the industry in 2015, the British retailer's arrival in Wellington the following year also stirred up a lot of excitement. It opened its stores in the capital in early November. Though there wasn't quite as much fanfare surrounding the opening as its first New Zealand store, it still drew crowds. It also showed that international retail brands aren't just limiting themselves to Auckland anymore - they're making their way down the country.
3. RIP Wild Pair - sorry we killed you off
The swift closure of Wild Pair came as a shock to consumers that had become familiar with its bright-green branding at malls around the country. In a tribute to a brand that felt like an old friend, deputy editor Elly Strang explained the disconnect between the younger generation's love of online shopping and their understanding of the consequences, such as local retailers folding.
2. How influencer marketing helped an Auckland Millennial build a multi-million-dollar company
Everyone loves a good Kiwi success story, and the tale behind 23-year-old Auckland-based entrepreneur Iyia Liu's businesses, Waist Trainer New Zealand Australia and Luxe Fitness was a hit on social media. Liu shared tricks of the trade of social media influencer marketing, including the back story behind how she managed to get Kardashian clan member Kylie Jenner to do a post wearing one of her waist trainers.
1. New Zealand's ethical fashion companies revealed - who passed the test?
Ethical fashion has been an issue at the forefront of consumers' minds ever since the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse in 2011, which killed 1136 garment workers. Considering the amount of interest around this topic, it came as no surprise that this story was the most read story of the year, with over 57,000 people interested in seeing how Kiwi brands were graded on their supply chain practices. What was particularly heartwarming to see was Glassons' improved performance from the 2015 survey, going from an F to a C+ grade. Departing CEO Graeme Popplewell told The Register that the brand had been putting in a lot of effort to improve its practices. He noted that there is still work to be done, but the retailer had both long-term and short-term goals that it was working on.