PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

The American shopping tradition – Black Friday – has grown Wairarapa roots.

Retailers and shoppers alike are reaping the rewards with $5.9 million spent in Wairarapa over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

That’s a 12.3 per cent increase on last year, according to figures provided by Paymark, which measures the amount spent by Kiwis through eftpos.

For some businesses, Black Friday was “bigger than Boxing Day”.

Paper Plus owner Warwick Delmonte said he couldn’t argue with the results.

“It seems to have been embraced somewhat by the public – and who are we to ignore that embrace?

“We tried to make it a proper sale, an authentic sale.”

For Newbolds Masterton owner Mark Heginbotham, Black Friday had been the busiest day of the year, and one of his busiest days ever.

“This Black Friday was bigger than Boxing Day last year.

“This is probably our fourth Black Friday, the first two trickled along.

“Last year was our second biggest day of trade, and this year’s our biggest day of trade for us, so we’re pretty happy with how it went.”

Heginbotham had full staff on through the weekend and also enlisted the help of two college students.

“If we can keep people shopping locally, that’s my main desire – to keep the money in Wairarapa rather than anywhere else.

“I think stores are offering some competitive deals on the market and as long as that keeps happening, I think people will continue to shop locally.”

Just Jeans Masterton sales assistant, Nicole Fearnley said in addition to locals there had been plenty of people shopping from Wellington.

“Obviously nice weather helped.

“We were all busy Friday and Saturday and sold lots of summer clothes.

“It was heaps busier this Friday than last year’s – our figures were a lot higher.

“A lot of people like to shop before Christmas and get their shopping done – it’s probably the best sale before Christmas and beforehand a lot of people are waiting for Black Friday to come around.”

Beds 4 U Masterton manager Amish Pal said they had extended their sale until yesterday to give more people more time to spend wisely.

Friday had brought steady sales for the store, and while Saturday was quiet, Sunday morning and Monday had had good foot traffic with sales.

Business Wairarapa general manager Vicki Lee said for some businesses it was their first year holding Black Friday sales while others had done it before, but the general feeling was Black Friday had gone well.

However, the effect the rush of sales was going to have on pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales was on some retailers’ minds.

“A couple of them are thinking, what’s Boxing Day going to do and how will [Black Friday] affect it?

“It was pretty big last year for Wairarapa, so it seems positive.

“I think for Wairarapa anything that can get the foot traffic into stores is a good thing.

“Because there’s a lot of pressure online – most businesses are online but if you’re a small local business you might not be.”

Last December people spent $55.7 million in Wairarapa through eftpos.