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Mixed bag for outdoor stores in Level 2

Bivouac Outdoor saw strong website sales during Level 3 and has retained all stores and staff.

New Zealand’s outdoor retailers have finally opened their doors and though sales have been slow for some, staff are enjoying the return of customers.

Bivouac CEO Wayne Martin said it’s too early to know how the company is faring in Level 2, but numbers after the first weekend are down on last year. 

The chain retailer saw strong website sales during Level 3 and has retained all stores and staff.

“It will be interesting to see how sales look in a week or two,” Martin said.

“It’s good to see some regular customers back in store – staff have enjoyed chatting to familiar faces."

Hamilton retailer Trek ‘n’ Travel has been ‘reasonably busy’ since stores re-opened, but staff have noticed a new trend in customers.

“They’re very efficient,” salesperson Amy Cullen said. “I think people have been looking online at our website during lockdown, and they’ve worked out what they want so they are coming in with pre-prepared lists.”

The store hasn’t been busy enough to require staggered entry, but customers are being trusted to do the right thing, Cullen said.

Hunting & Fishing CEO Darren Jacobs was pleased to report a ‘fantastic’ first weekend of Level 2 trading.

“After the stress of Level 4 and the false hope of Level 3, it was fantastic to have the doors open, and the store owners have been reporting strong demand,” he said.

“We were fortunate that Level 2 coincided with the opening of duck season and a good run of weather across the country. We have had strong demand for fishing gear, clothing and boots – people are obviously keen to get back out and about.”

Jacobs said cleaning routines and social distancing policies have meant a bit more work for employers, but customers have appeared ‘well-versed’ in their behaviour.

Invercargill independent retailer Southern Adventure has been ticking along since it re-opened at Level 2, and has retained all staff.

“It’s not been too bad – it’s quite busy because of the duck shooting season,” owner Craig Burke said.

The store did not operate during Level 4, but organised orders for customers during Level 3.

“The only thing has been contact tracing, which was pretty time consuming, but the government has now changed the rules on that,” Burke said.