© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Customer struggle for new city centre retailers.

Pierre Nixon

Christchurch central city businesses have been at the forefront of changes following the earthquakes but where are the customers?

Various retail consultants and Premier Retail Marketing were called on by the Christchurch City Council and the Central City Business Association to provide an insight on the current retail position in the Central City. 

The Retail Review Report  explains that the Christchurch Central City is one of the most modern shopping experiences in all of New Zealand and even has high quality shopping opportunities that are not available in Auckland, Wellington or many Australian Cities. 

Although the ground was laid for a new, exciting customer experience, business has not yet picked up, the review outlines. 

David West of Premier Retail marketing, writes that after the 2010/2011 earthquakes the central city rebounded but customer shopping patterns did not. Online shopping and Suburban shopping centres such as Riccarton mall have taken over shopper habits. 

A regular Riccarton mall customer, Bella Wilkinson, said: “ever since the earthquakes I’ve found Riccarton mall to be an easier and safer option”. 

Another Riccarton shopper said that shopping in town is a ‘nightmare’ as parking is ridiculously expensive in comparison to suburban malls. 

However, a business owner in the CBD, Gul Alizadah, thinks that the Central City is a prime spot for businesses and believes once all the work is done, the city will be one of the best places to shop in the world. 

The review features strategic ways businesses should consider to draw more customers through the door. 

A bigger marketing push was the main strategy David West offered to city central businesses as the report states if customers know what's out there for them they will come.


In 2017, the Central City Business Association created a three year strategic plan with the vision to make the central city a vibrant place where the old is celebrated and the new is on showcase.

business pic
Central City two year business plan Central City Business Association

The plan’s goal included more shops in the central city, increased funding and better resources towards infrastructure.