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Prepared for re-entry! Shoppers enjoy retail’s return

Flagstaff Team

Bells are ringing… The Christmas Heirloom Company has popped up in Shore City for six weeks this year rather than its usual three months. Brett McDermott said everybody had been in good spirits. “They seem to all be happy to get out and shop.”

Spirits were high this month when retailers were finally able to welcome customers back inside, as the Observer found in a wander round Takapuna and Milford shopping centres

Bench buddies… Marian Nicholls (left) and Marie Taylor stop off in Milford for a coffee break. The two had had a ball, with Marie buying a skirt she had had her eye on for a long time and Marian buying her son a shirt. They had chatted to a stranger, learning a lot about fruit, they laughed. After being cooped up so long, Marian noted: “Everybody’s speaking to everybody today.”

Revving up… Alana Vale at Tosca and Salome in Takapuna was happy to be back seeing customers despite a fairly quiet opening day. “It’s been nice to see faces.”

Regulars help out… Life for Men owner Scott Donovan said the Takapuna store had been relying on its database for trading. “We’ve had massive support from that but when it comes to the rest of the street and passing traffic, there is none,” he said.

Julian Curran at Claire Designer Boutique, where owner Claire Humphries says local support keeps shops like hers going

Feeling it… Ruby on Hurstmere Rd has had a steady stream of customers, manager Madeleine Davidson (left), pictured with sales assistant Sophie Macpherson says. “Everyone is just in a really good mood. I think everyone’s been patiently waiting to come and touch things and try things on.”

White on… Ruth Shannon, owner of The French Villa at the Milford Centre, says she has plenty of Christmas stock, partly thanks to items that ran late last year. “We had a lot of people yesterday banging on the window saying, ‘I want this’.”

Stepping out… Mikko shoes manager Jo Walker said shoppers were out with intent. “Some of them just want to spend, that sensation of spending. It’s like they’re at the starting gate.” Business overall at the Milford store was steady rather than manic, but she thought some people may have held off fearing crowds.

Browsers welcome… Ash Lawson (left) and Bree Bonzon- Liu were happy to be back at Creative and Brave in Takapuna’s mall where a lot of customers were looking for Christmas gifts. “It’s nice to have people back.”

Day tripper… Sue Warrick had come from Takapuna to Milford, visiting MorArt where she was looked after by owner Debbie Morgan. Warrick said it was wonderful to be able to shop again. “It’s like being let out of jail, isn’t it?” Morgan said television coverage of queues at city malls the night before reopening had likely put off some customers.

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