Capital confirms Christmas retail initiatives

Lorraine Nicholson from First Retail Group

Lorraine Nicholson from First Retail Group

Wellington City Council has announced a program of events and initiatives to further engage shoppers and diners with the capital’s central business district.

Council officers unveiled final plans at inner city guardianship group OurCBD’s November meeting to stakeholder groups that included the Chamber of Commerce, Retail New Zealand, Hospitality NZ and the Property Council of NZ.

A key element of the integrated program are two large Christmas trees at either end of the Golden Mile that anchor festivities. One will be located in the retail heart of the CBD on Lambton Quay’s Midland Park. Another will support the hospitality sector in the city’s entertainment precinct of Courtenay Place.

Dynamic street entertainment has always been a popular feature of the capital’s seasonal celebrations. This year, businesses will know about pop-up events well beforehand, enabling them to share the excitement with customers through social media.

In addition, Wellington’s interactive advent calendar kicks into high gear for 2015, with greater online interactivity and reach. The iconic promotional platform offers 24 special deals at various retailers and cafes throughout the CBD, one for each day of the festive period.

The initiative has grown rapidly over the past few years, with those visiting the website and downloading vouchers increasing exponentially. This December, organiser Positively Wellington Tourism is projecting over 500,000 visits to the advent calendar site and the downloading of around 100,000 vouchers.

Funding was also confirmed for gold coin weekend travel on the city’s bus network during the festive season to further build CBD visitation. Civic leaders are focused on encouraging a more blended experience where consumers are encouraged to shop and dine without the hassle of driving or parking.

Lorraine Nicholson from First Retail Group, which works with Wellington City Council to support its “open for business” initiatives, said the program is the culmination of 12 months’ planning and collaboration since last year’s seasonal celebrations.

“Council, through the OurCBD group, listened to businesses and developed the best aspects from past Christmases into an even better experience for this year,’’ says Nicholson. “Ideas have been tested with retailers, both large and small, so everyone has had an opportunity to shape this key trading period.’’

CBD-wide activations begin on December 1.

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