Economic confusion at the Herald

David Cohen | Monday December 21 2009 - 12:44pm
Fantastic news. The country’s retail sector is motoring along at the impressive nationwide rate of 340,000 purchases an hour, the New Zealand Herald reports:
This screeching rate of Eftpos purchases - up 5 per cent on spending patterns last year - appeared to match the frantic and sometimes testy nature of our packed shopping malls yesterday.

Paymark electronic transactions company boss Simon Tong said there were more than a million purchases yesterday - a lift for retailers on the recession-hit 2008 Christmas.

Good news indeed, and presumably no one is happier to be experiencing it firsthand than the management at St Lukes, one of Auckland’s major retail megacomplexes, whose assistant manager Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana, is quoted in the same report as saying the centre has been "ridiculously busy" for the past two weeks, with “more people … spending more money this year.”

But wait. With only four days to go until Christmas, this morning’s edition of the same paper also reports that the same retail sector is in fact in the doldrums, with “parking spaces still available at the malls” and depressed retailers reporting “quieter-than-usual stores.”

Herald reporter Debrin Foxcroft even discovers that this year’s downturn has been most keenly felt at shopping centres such as Auckland’s own St Lukes, where, she reveals, the lack of shoppers “was bordering on the ridiculous” and those who did turn up were largely in the market for smaller-ticket items.

The National Business Review Online is New Zealand's authority in breaking business news and analysis.