Retail NZ's latest quarterly report reveals retailers are upbeat about trading during the silly season.
While more than half of retailers didn't hit their sales targets in the three months to September 30, the sector is more positive about the lead-up to Christmas.
Three quarters of retailers are expecting to meet or exceed their sales targets in the last quarter of the year, the report shows.
"Notwithstanding the gloom of winter trading, retailers are feeling relatively positive about the lead-up to summer," Greg Harford, Retail NZ general manager of public affairs, said. "There continues to be a sense of ongoing uncertainty about the economy, and there is real pressure on household budgets, but retailers are expecting trading conditions to improve in the run-up to Christmas."
Around 70 per cent of retailers surveyed in the report expect 10 per cent of their Christmas sales to be made through e-commerce channels, 14 per cent believe up to 20 per cent of sales will be made online.
Retailers expect the usual items such as clothing, footwear, food and jewellery to be the most popular Christmas gifts this year, along with camping and outdoor equipment.
Twenty three per cent of retailers are planning on hiring more staff over the next three months, the report shows.
"Christmas is a busy time of year for retailers, and typically a time when extra staff are brought on to help out over the festive season. 23 per cent of retailers are planning to increase staff numbers over the next three months, but this is a significant drop on the 33 per cent reported at the same time last year," Harford said.
"Reduced employment intentions may indicate that retailers are unable to meet the costs of additional staff, particularly given increases in the minimum wage, or that suitable staff are hard to find."
The report shows over 50 per cent of retailers who plan to decorate their stores will have their Christmas decorations up and in full force by the end of November. Just over 45 per cent are waiting until December to put out the decorations.
There are a significant amount - 19 per cent - of retailers who will not put decorations up at all this year.
Looking ahead to the new year, Harford said retailers would continue to feel the pressure on prices as the result of movements in the New Zealand dollar, wage pressures, higher rates and insurance bills.
"Over time, this will flow through into retail pricing, and 41 per cent of retailers are expecting to move their prices upwards over the next three months," he said.