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Retailers experience Black Friday blues

It’s a fairly new phenomenon and unfortunately for retailers, Wairarapa shoppers did not open their wallets for Black Friday.

The region’s retailers experienced the second-biggest drop in spending in New Zealand during last week’s Black Friday sales.

According to Worldline, Wairarapa spending fell 11 per cent in the week to November 26 compared to the previous year, with just $2.7 million spent.

This year, Black Friday fell on November 25.

However, retailers that were hopeful Black Friday sales would trigger a boost in spending were out of luck.

Business Network International Wairarapa vice-president Jamie Wills said New Zealanders had become sceptical about the United States-imported shopping holiday.

“I’ve never really jumped on it. Maybe pre-covid, people were into it.

“At Flooring Xtra, we’ve tried some Black Friday promotions. “Not one person walked into the store and asked about our Black Friday deals.”

He said the business community was generally doing well, but anticipated a drop in spending in coming months.

“Not necessarily a recession, but there is that feeling in the air.

“It’s just been quieter in general. In the trade environment, people are more likely to wait until next year to book in for renovations.”

He said more people were also asking about “buy now pay later” arrangements as the cost of living rose.

“It’s been a steady upward trend for the last 12 months.”

Wairarapa’s pre-Black Friday spending fall was the largest drop nationwide behind the Auckland-Northland region, which saw a 12 per cent decrease.

Spending also fell in Wellington and Bay of Plenty in the days before Black Friday with each region experiencing a 10 per cent drop.

It was Wairarapa’s second month in a row of negative spending after the region had successfully kept its head above water for most of the year.

Meanwhile, over the hill, Wellington recorded some of the biggest drops in spending this year compared to the same month in 2021.

Nationally there was a 9.5 per cent drop in the week of Black Friday compared to last year.

Spending declined by 20 per cent in furniture, floor coverings, housewares textile goods, and hardware merchants.

However, clothing, footwear, and personal accessory retail spending went up by five per cent over the Black Friday week.

Worldline said it was unclear what it meant for Christmas spending, but “it would be reasonable to infer, given rising consumer prices, falling house prices, rising interest rates and generally low consumer confidence, that fewer merchants will be setting Christmas spending records this year.”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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