Games welcome boost for city

By merania.karauria@wanganuichronicle.co.nz, Merania Karauria

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Business was brisk and Wanganui businesses are feeling good from the positive feedback about the city during the 10 days of the Masters Games.

Retailers in Victoria Ave said their sales were buoyed and the accommodation sector was also at capacity.

Laureen Tunnell, of Footloose, said her fashion shoe store normally had good sales around this time, and this year they were buoyed by the influx of visitors.

"It's not easy out there, but we did well, and we had good feedback about Wanganui from the out-of-town visitors."

Andersons Darrell Smith said their sales were up on two years ago. "We narrowed our range of quality merchandise which was price-pointed."

Mr Smith said it was too early to give a definite figure to the week's performance, but they were pleasantly surprised.

Mainstreet marketing manager Elise Goodge said the retailers she had spoken to and the two hotels in the accommodation sector had reported good turnover during the Masters Games.

The Anndion Lodge on Anzac Pde was full the majority of the time, and if they had had more beds, they would have sold them, too.

Throughout the weekend, the lodge had walk-ins, mainly from overseas tourists who were keen to see Wanganui.

Rory Smith, at Tamara Backpackers, said they had good numbers and a good bunch of people stay during the games.

Vanessa Frew at 151 on London said it was convenient and a bonus for their Masters Games competitors to be able to walk to Springvale Park.

"It was great. We were busy, and it was good for us and good for Wanganui."

The Riverview, Acacia Motels and the Aotea Motor Lodge on Victoria Ave were also full to capacity with Games competitors.

National figures released yesterday by Paymark showed that the new year had brought not only sun, but a positive start for many retailers.

January saw the total value of transactions through the Paymark network increase by $191 million nationally, a growth of 5.1 per cent year-on-year.

Paymark boss Simon Tong said it was an encouraging start to the year after modest spending in December.

Paymark, which processed about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, saw Canterbury once again enjoy the strongest spending growth of all regions, up 8 per cent annually.

And while the Wanganui accommodation sector and retailers were buoyed during the Games, accommodation providers and retailers in other regions experienced below average spending growth during January.

Nationwide, those services linked to the building industry, like plumbing outlets (17.8 per cent), hardware and home decorating stores (11.6 per cent), saw double-digit lifts, while gardening stores (7.6 per cent) and wholesale building suppliers (7 per cent) were also up on the same time last year.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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