Shopping frenzy continues

Many people are rushing out for a last-minute shop in the countdown to Christmas.

With just one day left before Christmas, Paymark - which runs the country's eftpos terminals - said the running total for nationwide spending since mid-November was at $8.317 billion, up 3.4 percent from 2018.

Tracey Jewson, one of the shoppers at the recently reopened Westfield shopping mall in Newmarket said she had done her research online and aimed to get the shopping done in half an hour.

"[This is] total last-minute Christmas shopping for Christmas. It's my first day off work and it's the first time I've got the chance to get some shopping done. I've got two boys and I'm looking for some special treats for them," she said.

Ronan Kuriyan, who had just picked up what he wanted for a friend, said the rush was all about planning.

"I really didn't think about it before now. Usually I get the gifts for the people I want and then I remind myself about other people along the way and I get them the gift at the end," he said.

Craig Edwardrey was with his wife at the mall snapping up crackers and gifts for family, but was not sure he had everything he needed.

"I left it all to the last minute like I do every year. I just never get around to it. It's such a busy runner towards Christmas, so I'm always in a bit of panic at the last minute getting something. I'll probably get home and realise that I've forgotten something and have to come back," he said.

Noel Leeming on Queen Street was one of the shops with extended trading hours, and assistant manager Sarthak Sawant said there were more customers today.

"There are lots of customers coming for the last-minute shopping before Christmas. [People have] more free time and the peace of mind to choose more products," he said.

In central Wellington, the streets were also busy with punters, with some complaining they could not get what they wanted.

"It feels like everyone is rushing. There's a lot of stock that is not there. It's all sold," a woman said.

A busker said she knew how to make use of the busy time.

"We've been here since 6.30 in the morning. We usually do an eight-hour day for maybe 12 days before Christmas and then we don't put our instruments out for the next two months."

Even though many people were away on holiday, retailers in the capital said they were not worried.

"A lot of folk have left town, but a whole lot of folk arrived," one said.

Paymark said the running pre-Christmas total was expected to surpass the 2018 levels on Monday, with one more trading day to go.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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