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Slow start to festive season for retailers

Rochester retailers are hoping to turn around what has been a slow start to the festive season this year.

ELAINE COONEY December 12, 2013 4:10am

Rochester retailers are experiencing a slow start to the Christmas season.

Rochester Sportspower owner Darren Pain said the start of the month had been ‘‘really poor’’.

‘‘At this time of year there should be two people working flat out,’’ he said.

While he did not know the percentage of sales he was down on last year, he felt it was slower.

Mr Pain is remaining optimistic by calculating trends on previous years.

‘‘The first year (we owned the business) it wasn’t until December 11 that people started shopping and last year it was the 16th. I just hope this year they don’t leave it until the 22nd,’’ he said.

Kazz’s Heels manager Karen Galliker said December had been average and blamed the rain and cold weather for the lack of shoppers in town.

‘‘We’re all waiting for the (Christmas) hype,’’ she said.

Rochester Chemmart owner Brett Phillips said he bought a lot of Christmas stock but it was not selling quickly.

He said his giftware sales were down on the same time last year.

Mr Phillips said while it might appear Rochester did not have everything people wanted for Christmas, most stores could order products.

Rochester Mitre 10 manager Steven Anderson said the store could not store millions of dollars in stock but most items could be ordered.

‘‘Mainly they (customers) don’t want to wait, they want it straight away,’’ he said.

Mr Anderson reported high sales in modern outdoor furniture.

He said the business sold 22 high-end chairs as Christmas presents.

He said business had changed dramatically in the past six years.

‘‘(In the lead-up to Christmas) we would have 20 people in the shop (at once) but that doesn’t happen anymore,’’ he said.

He put the decline of young shoppers down to online shopping but said tradespeople and people over 30 still shopped at the store.

Elsey’s Quality Chickens owner Corina Else said the meat industry was different to retail.

She said sales remained constant every year and the only fluctuation was when customers had the family over for Christmas or when they were going out of town to celebrate.

Mrs Else said people were already placing Christmas orders and sales had not declined this year.

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