Retailers are hoping to end an uncertain 2020 with a flourish with customers out in force as Black Friday sales kick started the Christmas retail season.
Kiwis spent more than $650 million during the Black Friday weekend last year, outstripping the spending of Boxing Day, typically considered the country's biggest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday flash sales originated in North America, and the name refers to retailers' accounts going from in the red to in the black - profitable - as consumers fight for position at the till.
Russell Jackson, who owns The Jeweler on Victoria Ave, has been forced to put up a sign on his counter telling customers he can't take on any more work, such is demand.
"I've been retailing in Whanganui all my life, and I've been in this shop for about seven years," Jackson said.
"Ever since lockdown I've been run off my feet. Since people haven't been able to go overseas they've been wanting things repaired and custom made. I've never been so busy."
Jackson said that because of the "boxes of custom makes" he hadn't had time to make much of his own stock in the last little while.
"It's been a challenging year," he said.
"I'm lucky that I'm able to order stock and it'll turn up overnight. There have been a few issues here and there, but everything else has been pretty good.
"I've probably got the smallest shop on the [Victoria] Ave, so people walk past it quite easily. At the moment, that doesn't worry me too much."
Mary Waine at Ab Fab Flowers, also on Victoria Ave, said the shop had been busy but it was "swings and roundabouts" because the price of stock had increased as well.
"Flowers have become a lot more expensive, roses in particular, because importing and exporting has become a lot more difficult," Waine said.
"It's very different this year. People can't visit from overseas, and you can't visit mum at the resthome, so the easy thing to do is to jump on the phone and order a bunch of flowers."
Although demand for flowers had increased compared to this time last year, Waine said the expectation of faster service had as well.
"People have got more assertive perhaps, that's a polite way to describe it.
"I think sometimes people don't realise the process that goes into ordering flowers. We can do most things, but we haven't sorted out a drone to drop flowers off to Horopito just yet.
"In saying that, it's wonderful to see so many more people ordering flowers for loved ones. We always do our best to accommodate everybody's wishes."
Fat Rabbit gift shop in Marton has maintained steady business since the Covid-19 lockdowns, and owner Kym Douglas was hoping to end "a s*** of a year" on a high.
"I feel really positive about Christmas, and I think we all deserve a good one," Douglas said.
"I've spoken to other local retailers and the one concern we have at the moment is supply chains are a little bit affected.
"There have been a few emails and calls saying 'hey, you know that stuff you ordered for the start of December? It's not arriving'. Anything that's coming from overseas is a little bit 'uh-oh'.
"I'm lucky to be working with a lot of smaller, Kiwi-made companies though, and they've been really good."
Douglas said she suggested that people should buy now rather than later, regardless of which retailer they were visiting.
"It won't be there in two weeks, and it may not be able to be replaced."
The Marketplace, the multi-shop retail venture in the old Farmers building on Victoria Ave, has been open for more than a week.
One of the spaces is taken up by jewellery maker Judith Barnett, ceramic artist Shirley McDonough and resin artist Colleen Sullivan.
Barnett said the trio had enjoyed a steady flow of customers since the space opened, and heavy rain of the past couple of days was not enough to keep people away.
"Last Saturday was really busy; the shop was completely full for the whole day," Barnett said.
"The great thing about having the three of us in one space is that we share the time on the shop floor. While one of us is here the other two can make the products."
Whanganui seemed to have embraced the "buy local" mentality since the outbreak of Covid-19, Barnett said.
"Everyone has been coming in and saying they want to support local businesses.
"We were all ready to buy dining chairs from overseas, but now we're actually buying some that have been made right here in Whanganui."