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Have you finished all of your Christmas shopping? Zoe Hunter reports on what our city's shopping centres are doing to prepare for what they call some of the busiest shopping days of the year. Plus, top tips to not spend too much.
The city's shopping malls are gearing up for the busiest shopping days of the year as the last-minute Christmas rush starts.
Extra staff, more stock, additional car parks and extended hours are being introduced at shopping centres across Tauranga to help cater for the demand.
Bay of Plenty shoppers have spent more than $448 million in the first two weeks of December according to Paymark's latest regional figures - 7.8 per cent more than last year.
It will be Tauranga Crossing's first Christmas with the new enclosed mega-mall, which opened in April this year.
Tauranga Crossing centre manager Andrew Wadsworth said the festive season was always the busiest time of year in retail.
"Christmas Eve and Boxing Day were our two biggest retail days last year, with Boxing Day outperforming Christmas Eve," he said.
"We are expecting our biggest Christmas to date, following the opening of the [enclosed] mall earlier this year."
Wadsworth said extra car parks in the green zone across the road from the main entrance have been organised over the festive period.
"We have additional traffic management, security, cleaning, and customer service staff ready to help on the day," he said.
"We have also extended our shopping hours in the lead-up to Christmas and on Boxing Day."
Papamoa Plaza David Hill said December 23, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day were in the top five busiest days of the year - the day before Good Friday and Easter Saturday were also ranked highly.
"Christmas decorations went up on October 31 and immediately you could feel the buzz in the air," he said.
Hill said foot traffic was already up 8 per cent on last year but it was the week before Christmas was when the shopping centre was the busiest.
"We are on track for our biggest Christmas trade period ever," he said.
"We have more shops ... and there are more people coming into the region and lots more regular local customers."
Hill said many retail shops had employed extra staff for the festive period and there was more storage space to hold the additional Christmas stock coming in.
Bayfair Shopping Centre manager Steve Ellingford said the centre's trading hours had been extended before and after Christmas to cater for the influx of holidaymakers.
"Historically Boxing Day is the busiest day in terms of total visitor numbers," he said.
Ellingford said Bayfair experienced an early Christmas rush, with visitor numbers growing more than 30 per cent on this time last year. He expected that demand to continue into January.
The centre will also free up more than 200 extra car parks for the busy period and will increase the number of carpark courtesy staff.
Fraser Cove shopping centre manager Marie Mischewski said while the lead-up to Christmas certainly lifted sales, Boxing Day still attracted huge numbers.
"The Warehouse Fraser Cove has had people waiting at its doors for the opening [on Boxing Day] every year for many years," she said.
Mischewski said many people received gift cards on Christmas day, which they hoped to spend on Boxing Day so there was potential for December 26 to be as busy as Christmas Eve.
"I know that Boxing Day sales can exceed Christmas Eve sales," she said.
Stores everywhere will be coping with the numerous deliveries of stock to fill the shelves "to the max", Mischewski said.
"While there are endless sales during the year, it doesn't seem to decrease the Christmas shopping sprees," she said.
Many stores have been preparing for the big Christmas rush, including hiring additional staff, later opening hours, and more car parks, Mischewski said.
"From an operational aspect, increased rubbish collections are required, cleaning staff can be increased, as well as longer work hours and supplies are increased such as toilet supplies and security," she said.
The number of cars parking at the shopping centre showed foot traffic tended to increase from late October, which in turn reflected turnover figures, Mischewski said.
"Totals are taken at month's end and from Fraser Cove's perspective the centre is showing a 10 per cent increase in October compared to the 2018 year," she said.
"Whether the customer is purchasing for Christmas at this time is a question I can't answer, but... I am sure Christmas shopping is well under way for many people."
Top budget tips for Christmas
1. Plan ahead – Start saving/buying in January and put a little aside each week if you are able.
2. Think about supermarket Christmas clubs.
3. Make a plan, set a limit and stick to it.
4. Consider homemade gifts – baking, jams and pickles are always appreciated.
5. If the family is older, draw names out of a hat so that every person buys a gift for one person in the family.
6. Think very carefully about lay-buys. Interests rates can be very high and if it is deferred, make sure you pay it before it incurs interest.
7. Stay away from pay-day loans.
Source: Tauranga Budget Advisory Service