Black Friday sales have kicked off with gusto, as throngs of Kiwis keen to save money on their Christmas gifts, hit the shops.
With Covid-19 restrictions eased and four weeks till Christmas, people did not seem to be worried about stimulating the economy amid talk of a looming recession.
Fernanda Tapia had a special mission and $200 to spend.
“I was looking for this teddy…that’s what I came for,” she said of the giant green stuffed toy.
Others, like Clynton Janke, came with a wish list.
“I’m looking for some clothes for myself, for my son and a couple of toys for my boy for Christmas.”
Official data showed retail sales have not bounced back as strongly as expected – rising 5 percent in the three months to September compared to the same period last year, despite eased Covid-19 restrictions.
Not everyone was impressed with today’s discounts.
Chris Swannell was hoping to get his Christmas shopping started.
“I’m still finding that some prices are still quite high and even with the discounts so a little bit inflated. I guess I’m frustrated too because I’m not finding what I wanted to get for Christmas.”
The Reserve Bank has asked people to rein in their purchases to help curb inflation, but many shoppers RNZ spoke to said this was not the right time to lock up their wallets.
Janke was among those loosening their purse strings.
“It’s been a rough couple of years for most people and it’s time to get out and enjoy a little bit and get something nice for everyone.”
Others like Swannell were being more cautious.
“I have been listening, I haven’t spent a cent today yet. That is a consideration you have to be cautious about – how you spend your money and I’m really conscious of Christmas coming up and the weight of what he [Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr] has proposed.”
Perhaps the best gauge of spending intentions should come from the man in red.
Santa Claus has returned from the North Pole for photoshoots in shopping malls, and said Lego and Barbie dolls were still top of children’s list.
But labour pressures were hitting hard.
“At the North Pole especially, with all the elves, they’re giving me trouble now they don’t want to work. They work for the joy of it you see.”