Quick tips & FAQ's

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Black Friday has historically been the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S. and is the day after Thanksgiving. This is typically the day which puts retailers back into the black and kicks off the Christmas sales surge. In recent years, Kiwi retailers have begun to participate in Black Friday, offering large discounts and even special promotions on certain products. Last year, Black Friday surpassed Boxing Day sales in New Zealand for the first time, with Kiwis spending over $69.7 million on Friday alone and more than $442 million over the entire weekend.

This year, Black Friday falls on 29 November. With Black Friday falling so close to the start of December, consumers are likely to do a majority of their Christmas shopping on Black Friday and over the following weekend, expecting big savings and exceptional deals. Think about what deals you may offer your customers on Black Friday or over the weekend and make sure you have the stock volume to make it worthwhile. If you hesitate to plan and are not prepared by the time November begins, you may not be prepared at all for what could be your most successful day of the year.

Don't forget that Cyber Monday on 1 December also expects to be a great day for retailers operating online and that consumers have the same expectations of great savings. Additionally, Singles Day, which is a Chinese shopping holiday, falls on 11 November and also promises to be a big day for online retailers.

The holiday season is a popular time for staff to take holidays. If you haven't already done so, we recommend you talk to your staff now regarding their plans for holidays during this time. This will give you advance warning of the need if any, to arrange for staff coverage during this busy retail period.

If you are likely to need casual employees over the summer, we recommend that you start recruiting now. You might want to think about using Student Job Search (which has no cost for employers) to help get the people you need for the busy period - but however you recruit it's important to make sure that casual employees are truly casual and that you have the right contracts in place. It can be tricky, so please check in with our free member Advice Service on 0800 472 472 or email advice@retail.kiwi if you have any queries.

Over the 2019/20 Christmas and New Year break, the four public holidays of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day and the Day After New Year's Day, fall on a Wednesday and Thursday.

The days your employees observe the public holiday on depends on their normal working days.

If the employee would normally work on a Wednesday or Thursday and they actually work on the public holidays then you must pay them a minimum of time and a half for the time they actually work. If it is an "otherwise working day" for the employee, you also need to give them another day off on full pay.

If an employee doesn't work on either of the public holidays, but it would be "otherwise a working day" then you need to pay the employee for the public holiday as if he or she had worked as normal. You will need to pay them the higher of their relevant daily pay or average daily pay.

For an employee for whom the public holidays are not an otherwise working day and who does not work, is not entitled to any payment for the day.

If your employee would normally going to work on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day or 2 January but is sick or bereaved, the day is treated as a paid unworked public holiday. Therefore:

  • the employee would be paid their relevant daily pay or average daily pay, but wouldn’t get time and a half or an alternative holiday
  • no sick or bereavement leave would be deducted.

It is already time to start thinking about how you are going to merchandise your shop during the holiday season. There are several things to consider when planning this, such as if you're going to stick with a summer theme, or follow the many other parts of the world and embrace a snowy winter theme. It is also important to consider store layout, increasing volume on the shop floor, and displays. These merchandising standards will vary significantly by location, product lines, and branding. Merchandising for the holiday season is not a “done once” job, but must be continuously updated during the busiest shopping season of the year.

In New Zealand, a large number of retailers decorate for a festive winter holiday season in the midst of the local summer holidays. Other shops merchandise for beach weather, BBQs and outdoor activities. There isn't necessarily a right or wrong season to embrace for your store's decor, but it is important that the rest of your merchandising and displays reflect the festive theme you pick. It is not essential to pick only a winter or summer holiday theme, however decorating up the store front and windows will make it more attractive to customers buzzing around in holiday shopping mode. We highly recommend taking the time to plan and merchandise for the occasion to best suit your business.

If you have the flexibility to play around with the layout of your store, the holidays are a good time to try new things. You will likely have an increase in visitors and your loyal customers will be visiting even more frequently, not to mention the increase from tourism during this time of year. Think about changing your store layout in ways that are more interesting, allowing you to increase volume in top selling products in the most prominent locations. Using top selling products or high-volume items in your front windows and priority locations will attract more attention to them. Additionally, try creating easy gifting combinations for your customers, or cross merchandising. Keep in mind that as items sell through you will need to be proactive in remerchandising. Furthermore, be reactive quickly to sales. If products in the windows or in priority displays are not selling, replace them with something that is performing well.

When you make any merchandising alterations for the holiday season, ensure that you're not making changes that would increase risk of retail crime. There tends to be an increase in retail crime during this time of year, so ensure your staff members are conscious of customers entering their store and serving them. No matter how you merchandise your store, never forget that customer service will be a huge factor in hitting sales targets during the busy holiday season!

The spring and summer season is also a popular time for councils to run events, including Christmas parades. It would pay to check out your council's calender of events for any upcoming activities to ensure that you make the most of the retail opportunities that come with these.

Most shops won't open on Christmas Day in 2019. There are trading restrictions in place for Christmas Day, but you can choose your own opening hours on the other public holidays.

By law, your shop must be closed on Christmas Day unless:

  1. your shop sells only food, drink, household items, personal items, automotive fuel, lubricants and accessories; and you have only enough items to meet the needs of people who live or are staying in the area; or
  2. your principal business is selling souvenirs and/ or duty free goods; or prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold; or
  3. your shop is located at a public passenger transport station or terminal and you sell any of the above and/ or books, magazines or newspapers; or
  4. your shop is a pharmacy; or
  5. your shop is located in a place where an exhibition or show primarily related to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of those matters, is being held; or
  6. your shop is in Nelson, you only sell crafts, and Founders Park is open;

If your shop is on the list of exemptions about you are not required to open - but you do have the choice to make your own decisions about opening hours.

Updated on the 9th December 2019.

Make sure you are in the know about Public Holidays

It seems that every time a public holiday comes around, there's lot of scratching of heads, wondering what to pay staff and why.

We have formatted a guide specifically for this area, breaking the laws down and providing some working examples to help ease the process. It's FREE for Retail NZ members (or $29 plus GST for non-members).

Get your copy today by emailing advice@retail.kiwi or request it from our member resource library .

Check out our Christmas Hub , for more helpful tips about consumer trends and staffing, preventing retail crime, and much more!