"The smiles on retailers' faces are back."
After seven weeks of being closed to the public, Hawke's Bay retailers say the bounceback in in-store attitudes around the region have been "like Christmas" since the country entered level 2.
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Napier Centre Business Incorporated Manager Pip Thompson said Napier had been packed over the weekend and was again busy on Monday, with good sales made.
"Everyone is just happy to be back in action and the smiles on retailers' faces are back," she said.
She noted streets were busy with foot traffic, there were queues outside some stores and carparks were full.
While it is hard to compare the level of traffic with Christmas due to regulations on the number of customers in store she said, "people have gone crazy like Christmas".
Graham Bell from Alexander's Menswear in Tennyson St said they had returned to being as busy as they had pre Covid-19.
"It's been great, it is what we could expect on a good Saturday and Sunday before Covid-19," he said.
He said the shopping behaviour of their customers was normal and what he would describe a "considered shopping": customers are seeing gaps in their wardrobe and shopping for what they needed, much like before.
Bell is feeling positive about the situation and said while the lockdown had been stressful, aside from retail, hospitality and tourism other sectors had remained working and the wage subsidy had been helpful in retaining staff.
The number of customers in level 2 had been better than what he had thought it would be.
There were both regular customers and new customers, some from out of the region, visiting the shop.
Being in Hawke's Bay and still having good weather was a big factor in the return to normal, he said.
Prior to Covid-19 Bell had noticed people from Hastings or Havelock North having small holidays in Napier for the weekend, which he believes will start to continue.
On Monday the store had two customers from out of the region and was set to have customers from Auckland and Wellington visiting in the coming weeks.
Turley & Co property strategist and valuer Pat Turley said in the UK there has been talk recently about retail turnover leases being an answer to a high street's retail quagmire.
Turley said turnover leases occasionally apply for hospitality tenancies in NZ, for Hawke's Bay supermarkets and regional trade retail stores.
Rent additional to a base rent is triggered by retail sales over a certain level.
He said there are pros and cons and "if the retail sales performance necessary to trigger additional rent is set too high, landlords would unlikely agree."
Turley also points out that "a certain rent level is needed to support retail property investment and for town centres to prosper."
He says the model has potential though as a "shared pain and shared gain retail lease basis in Hawke's Bay."