Warkworth retailers hope the Christmas season will help to make up for a long lockdown and a slow start to trading this month.
Retailers said, unlike the end of the last lockdown, they have not seen a surge in shopping, despite being allowed to open for the first time in months.
It has been especially difficult for clothing stores, which went into lockdown in winter and have had to purchase all new stock for the summer season.
Matt Henderson, of Warkworth Menswear, is selling his winter stock at half price in an effort to make room for summer stock.
Penny Garrick, of Coconut Gallery, believes that some people are still uncertain whether New Zealand will be able to celebrate Christmas, and haven’t rushed to buy gifts or new outfits.
She suspects that once the Government makes clear its plans for Aucklanders to be able to travel, her customers will “flock to buy their Christmas frock”.
Briony Batten, of Briar Rose flowers, says orders have been steady, but people don’t appear to be spending as much.
Max Lau, of Fishers Jewellers, agrees that the wage subsidy has left households with less for discretionary spending.
“I think it will still take a while for things to get back to normal,” he says.
Prashant Darji, of Paper Plus, says it was a “difficult call” whether to reopen because although sales are low, they will still likely be enough to tip him over the threshold for wage subsidy eligibility. Moreover, being open means he is paying full rent to his landlord again.
Prashant is encouraging Warkworth shoppers to beat the Christmas rush and purchase some of their gifts in local stores now.
He says it would make a “big difference” to retailers who have brought in new stock for Christmas and need the cashflow to bridge the gap between lockdown and the shopping season.