The expected Rugby World Cup boom has turned to bust for many retailers - but slim hopes remain for a lift in the final two weeks.
Parnell and Ponsonby have struggled enough to prompt a council resolution encouraging visitors their way, and businesses ranging from fashion and books to electronics and furniture are all talking about the dire trade.
An analyst at Goldman Sachs says big listed companies The Warehouse, Pumpkin Patch and Hallensteins would be hurting as spending shifted toward rugby.
Ski Trading Post owner Andrew Farnell said he was down 50 per cent to normal trading.
"Retail just stopped on opening night - just like the trains. We were thinking, 'How did we drop the ball?' But everyone's in the same boat. The core part of the business is just gone."
It was his worst trading in 23 years and no amount of advertising could get a spark, Mr Farnell said.
Ponsonby Civic Video manager Mike Roke said his store had seen business drop 15 per cent, though he said this was to be expected.
Days with All Blacks matches were not even worth opening, Mr Roke said.
PB Technologies branch manager Alex Zhu said he had experienced a significant downturn. "People ... aren't coming in, though there are thousands on Queen St just outside."
Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers said there was a "marked slowness of trade" in Parnell and Ponsonby. "They're areas that had higher expectations, with proximity to the city centre ... It's not even business as usual - it's down. I understand it's a universal concern."
The Parnell and Ponsonby concerns prompted a council resolution on Tuesday night to encourage more fans into the entertainment areas.
Chambers Home and Living in Ponsonby, Parnell fashion stores and community theatres agreed they had been unusually quiet.
"I don't know where the people are. It's like people are sitting under their little rocks until after the tournament," said a Parnell retailer.
Nike Britomart owner Bryan Eible said he had seen no lift - and the stylish precinct had become "like Bosnia" with its Portaloos and temporary fencing.
But he was hopeful of long-term gains and was convinced the tournament was positive for the country.
Unity Books owner Jo McColl said the talk at a recent book launch had been about the plummeting World Cup trade.
Analysis of spending figures for September show the overall retail momentum took a modest step down, despite a rise from $3.48 billion to $3.6 billion.
This was only a 1.1 per cent rise for the year after adjusting for GST, below both August's 1.9 per cent and and the average momentum through the prior 12 months of 2.1 per cent.
Goldman Sachs analyst Buffy Gill said the figures suggested New Zealand households were not increasing their spending due to the cup, but rather redirecting it towards rugby-related activities and hospitality.
Companies such as The Warehouse, Pumpkin Patch and Hallensteins would be missing out, she said.
"This would suggest that the majority of our listed retailers will instead be suffering as more durable good purchases are delayed."
While a pick-up was expected with an influx of overseas tourists for the final games, Goldman Sachs did not expect that to be enough to "turn the dial" for retail.
Ms Gill said although foreign card spending rose 29 per cent year on year, this made up only 4 per cent of total retail sales.
* Theatres: down
* Video rentals: down
* Ski equipment: down
* Fashion: down
* Furniture: down
* Electronics: down
* Books: down
* Car sales: flat
* Taxis: down
* Parnell: down
* Ponsonby: down
* Newmarket: flat.