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Tourist towns experience sales boom over Easter weekend

  • News
  • April 6, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Tourist towns experience sales boom over Easter weekend

Increase and decreases in sales over the Easter weekend compared to the March average:

1. Sports and outdoor (60 percent)

2. Home and lifestyle (37 percent)

3. Tourism and adventure (30 percent)

4. Cafes (-4 percent)

5. Food and drink (-7 percent)

6. Fashion and apparel (-9 percent )

Data from Vend shows that while sports and outdoor and home and lifestyle enjoyed a boost in sales, hospitality and fashion and apparel sales were down on the March average.

This may be because of growing nesting and experiential spending trends, with people spending their long weekends doing outdoor or sports activities or sprucing up their homes.

However, due to many stores having to close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, retail spending over the break was overall still 12 percent lower than the rest of March.

Increase in sales by location over Easter weekend compared to March average:

1. Wanaka (113 percent)

2. Mount Maunganui (102 percent)

3. Taupo (85 percent)

4. National Park (65 percent)

5. Mangawhai (62 percent)

6. Queenstown (50 percent)

7. Martinborough (47 percent)

8. Russell (47 percent)

9. Rotorua (44 percent)

10. Raglan (39 percent)

Auckland and Christchurch recorded drops in trade over the long weekend, with sales in Auckland decreasing by 16 percent and in Christchurch by 18 percent. Wellington had a minor increase in sales.

Instead, it was the tourism hotspots around the country that benefited from holiday spending, despite many towns being restricted by Easter trading laws.

Wanaka and Mount Maunganui’s sales skyrocketed by more than 100 percent compared to the March average.

In both places, retailers are restricted from trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and risk a fine of up to $1000 if they are selling goods not on the approved list.

Wanaka Chamber of Commerce spokesman Alistair King reported close to 50,000 people entering the town over the long weekend.

Taupo, which has been ruled a tourist town and is exempt from Easter trading laws, saw an 85 percent increase in average sales.

In Raglan, which isn’t exempt, it was estimated 85 percent of shops flouted trading laws and opened their doors on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Its sales over the Easter weekend grew by 39 percent.

Vend founder Vaughan Rowsell says stores that experienced increased sales weren’t always the stores you might expect, but there was a spike in brewery sales and petrol stations on Easter Saturday.

He was supportive for changing the Easter trading laws, saying modern-day consumers expect to be able to shop wherever and whenever it suits them, be it online or in-store.

“Retail is a competitive environment and it’s not easy to be successful in a market like New Zealand, so it makes sense that many stores want to capitalise on the holiday, particularly in smaller towns.

“We want to help retailers get ahead, and believe that New Zealand retailers need to be better supported so they can make the most of this great holiday and the tourism that comes with it, and so they can meet the needs of their modern customer, which is an easily accessible, convenient and sophisticated service.”

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