Celia Greenslade, of Greenslades Furniture. Photo / Megan Wilson
Black Friday is expected to blitz Boxing Day sales again this year as storeowners battle online deals from overseas retail heavyweights.
This is despite people feeling “less wealthy as house prices decline in value”
and paying more at the checkout due to the rising costs and inflation.
Malls and shopping centres in the Bay of Plenty have also experienced big increases in foot traffic which they hope will pay dividends leading into the festive season.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said Black Friday, this year on November 25, had become a critically important part of the Kiwi shopping calendar as locals competed with online deals from big overseas firms.
Spending last year was on a par with that of Boxing Day but “consumer confidence is not great at the moment”.
“It is being buffeted by higher interest rates for mortgages, higher prices for many goods, and a feeling that they are less wealthy as house prices decline in value.
“This means that customers are increasingly focused on securing fantastic deals. In this context, Black Friday’s likely to go well, but things might be slower into December.”
Spending was up on consumables and fuel and down on apparel and hospitality.
“This suggests consumers are hunkering down and focusing more of their consumption on the basics.”
Harford said the biggest challenge at the moment was a lack of workers.
“There are just not enough people in New Zealand to fill the roles available in retail. There are thousands of vacancies across the sector, and the lack of available people is meaning that some stores are needing to reduce their operating hours or close entirely.”
Fashion Island centre manager Roz Irwin said Black Friday had become one of its busiest trading days of the year.
“All of our brands and retailers get behind Black Friday and launch some incredible sales, exclusively for this promotion. People absolutely love it, and I am sure a lot of Christmas shopping gets done.”
She said a lot of its major brands now have larger storage facilities and distribution centres in New Zealand (post-Covid) and it was not affected greatly by supply chain issues.
Fashion Island’s foot traffic “continues to increase at a phenomenal rate,” she said.
Pukeroa Oruawhata chief executive Mark Gibbs said Black Friday sales originated in the United States, as the Friday signifying the official “start” of the Christmas retail season after Thanksgiving, and the “concept has certainly taken off in recent years”.
Pukeroa Oruawhata owns Rotorua’s Central Mall.
“The retail sector in Rotorua is no different. While Pukeroa Oruawhata can’t speak for our retail tenants and their plans for Black Friday and leading up to Christmas, we do expect it to be a busy retail period – even with the general caution about the current economic climate.”
It had noticed a significant increase in foot traffic over the past six months at its retail centres, he said.
“People have an increased level of confidence to get out and about – and potentially make up for lost time. It’s been really exciting to see this and there is a definite buzz in the air.”
Celia Greenslade, of Greenslades Furniture, said it did not actively promote Black Friday sales but it ran campaigns and deals in conjunction with it.
She said traditionally summer signalled a pick-up in business and this year was no exception as people bought new dining suites, barstools, outdoor furniture, and umbrellas.
“We definitely see an uplift. People spend a lot of time outdoors and some have their Kiwi Christmas outside and they want to get it all set up.”
Rod Duke, chief executive of the Briscoe Group, which owns Rebel Sport, said Black Friday had perhaps overtaken Boxing Day sales for the past three years.
“That’s been my experience. Black Friday for us is the biggest event of the year, it has been for a while and will continue to be.”
Duke said the company reported record sales in its October quarter and there was strong movement across the board at Rebel Sport in all categories, while air fryers and coffee makers were still big sellers at Briscoes stores.
Vodafone spokesman Conor Roberts said Black Friday signalled the start of the all-important Christmas trading period.
This year Vodafone was offering $1 deals on new Apple, Samsung, and Oppo phones on eligible plans.
“Sales are proving resilient, even with difficult external economic conditions. In addition to new phones, accessories such as headphones, smart watches, tablets and wireless speakers are also excellent stocking stuffers.”
Roberts said the company kicked off its One Awesome Summer campaign at Labour Weekend, which linked to Black Friday and the Christmas trading period that lasts until the Boxing Day and New Year sales.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said social media from overseas has helped to generate more hype for Black Friday sales in New Zealand.
“While it has a disputed history, Black Friday is cherished by customers wanting deals, and by retailers who clear stock ahead of the Christmas period. For some retailers, it’s their biggest sale of the year.”
Overall, retailers were hopeful for another solid festive season.
“Spending will likely surpass last year’s sales, mainly [because] the cost of products has increased and staff wages have increased alongside inflation.”
However, Cowley said, the most common issues for retailers were access to staff, the rising cost of doing business and increasing security risks from antisocial behaviour.
Consumer NZ warned bargain hunters to be wary of Black Friday sales.
“A sale must be a genuine opportunity for consumers to buy a product at a discounted price for a short period,” Consumer spokeswoman Jessica Walker said.
“Price comparisons must be based on actual market prices – so if retailers compare the sale price to the recommended retail price [RRP] but usually sell the product below the RRP, it’s misleading.”
The watchdog recommended checking out PriceSpy and PriceMe to gauge the real value of any items.
The Port of Tauranga reported steady container volumes for the first quarter of the 2023 financial year.
Container volumes increased 1.8 per cent compared with the previous corresponding period, helped by a 7 per cent increase in dairy volumes.
Based on the first quarter’s results, and notwithstanding any significant changes to market conditions, the Port of Tauranga expects full-year earnings to be in the range of $115 million to $120m. Net profit after tax for the year ended June 30, 2022, was $111.3m.
A spokeswoman said there was quite a surge in import containers destined for Auckland in September and October. The daily average was about 60 per cent higher in September than in August and October was about 155 per cent higher than August.
“We also had a five-day rail shutdown for repairs over Labour Weekend so the yard is pretty full at the moment. We have asked KiwiRail for as many extra trains as they can give us.”
Consumer NZ’s top tips to make sure you’re getting a good deal
1. Compare prices online to make sure another shop isn’t selling the item cheaper. Don’t buy something “just because” the store claims it’s on special.
2. Know the 3 Rs (replace, repair, refund) and forget the extended warranty. In most cases, an extended warranty isn’t worth it – you’ll be paying for cover you already have under the Consumer Guarantees Act.
3. Make the right choice. If you change your mind about a purchase, the retailer doesn’t have to take it back.
4. Don’t forget your chargeback rights.
5. Know who’s responsible for deliveries. Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, retailers that arrange delivery have to ensure items arrive on time and in good condition. So if an item arrives damaged, you don’t have to muck about with the courier company – the retailer must sort it out.
6. Find out where to shop for good service. There are some shops where you’re more likely to get above-par service.
7. It never hurts to ask. See if the salesperson will offer anything extra to sweeten the deal.
8. Think carefully before signing up for a “buy now, pay later” deal. If you start missing payments, you’ll pay default fees.
9. Add an exchange card. Buying a gift for someone else? Always ask the retailer for an exchange card to go with it.
10. Ignore the pressure tactics. “Selling fast!” “10 others looking at this item.” “Don’t miss out!”. The best protection for your wallet is to resist the sales pitch.
– Source Consumer NZ