Plenty of festive cheer for retailers

Sunday January 04, 2015 Written by Published in Economy
The annual float parade was on of the highlights of a busy lead-up to Christmas on Rarotonga. The event was accompanied by a late shopping night, but many people still left their buying until the very last minute. The annual float parade was on of the highlights of a busy lead-up to Christmas on Rarotonga. The event was accompanied by a late shopping night, but many people still left their buying until the very last minute.

If you thought it seemed particularly busy in Avarua this Christmas, you were right.

As everyone would have noticed, on the last few days leading up to December 25, traffic was chaotic in town and parking was at a premium. Driving in and out of town was an exercise in patience, requiring special care as an endless flow of scooters dodged in and out of busy traffic.

The main street was just as crowded as shoppers poured into town, all searching for that last minute perfect gift.

Once again many Rarotonga residents appeared to leave most of their shopping until Christmas Eve, providing a chaotic experience for most of the island’s retailers. Many stores were busy right up until closing time, with shoppers rushing about, desperate to complete their shopping tasks. 

All day scores of cars packed the CITC supermarket car park to overflowing, and if you were looking for somewhere to park your vehicle, you had to make several tours of the tarmac first. Inside, the action was just as frantic, with some customers hauling around two shopping trolleys at a time and piling them with Christmas supplies.

Ariel Linda from the CITC customer help desk, said company businesses were busier than they had been in previous years.

“There is always a last minute rush on Christmas Eve, with many people still buying decorations and gifts.”

Raro Mart director Don Carlaw said Christmas Eve had been a big day for the store, with most customers purchasing toys and gifts.

“But it was quieter by the following Monday and since then most days have been pretty similar to last year.”

Telecom Cook Islands acting chief executive Ngatama Aniterea said Telecom sales had been down over the past year, largely as a result of not so many tourists using the company’s services compared with previous years.

However, there was still plenty of Christmas cheer for the company, phones all over the island running hot as people made calls to family members on the outer islands.

Meanwhile, he says there is still no word on when a new chief executive will be appointed, but it is most likely to be when the sale of Spark’s majority share is finalised.

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