Almost 200 Christchurch businesses have been opened or reopened since January and the population is growing as the Canterbury city continues its recovery from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
University of Canterbury senior marketing lecturer Dr Sussie Morrish said the new and re-established shops, cafes, bars and restaurants created the potential for further economic growth in the city.
New Regent St shops had been refurbished and the iconic precinct had opened in the CBD, creating small clusters with a potential to grow, Dr Morrish said.
Canterbury's population had grown by 1600 people in the last year, she said.
"This is a significant swing from a year earlier when 3100 more people left the region than came in," Dr Morrish said.
Areas that have been erected also include the Woolston Tannery, the Holmwood Rd shops and a cluster of stores on the corner of Fedalton and Clyde roads.
"The CBD will become vibrant again as more premises reopen," she said.
"The positive thing is that the entrepreneurial business are seizing this opportunity to get themselves established and reposition their brands."
Dr Morrish said there was a much happier feeling about Christchurch, which was reflected in consumer spending.
"Local spending and confidence looks set to increase further as the population continues to grow, meaning more people spending in the region."