Two men are being sought by police after an attempted aggravated robbery in central Christchurch yesterday.

A female shop attendant was threatened with a knife as one of the men demanded cash and cigarettes about 9am, at the Avenue Dairy, on the intersection of Worcester St and Fitzgerald Ave.

The woman called out to a colleague in the shop, and the two intruders fled without taking anything, Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Richard Quested said.

The men were seen fleeing on foot along Worcester Street towards the central city, before detouring through a vacant section towards Gloucester St near Christchurch East School, he said.

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The two men were described as Maori or Pacific Islanders.

One is reportedly around 172cm (5ft 8in) tall, and was wearing a distinctive grey checked hoody, a baseball cap with three strips on the peak, dark pants and tan shoes.

The second man was described as at least 182cm (6ft) tall, and wearing a dark green hoody, a scarf over his face and white pants or overalls with marks on the legs.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 363 7400, or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.