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Businesses in NZ's biggest city centres continue to struggle, with foot traffic well down

Businesses in the CBDs of our biggest cities continue to struggle, with foot traffic well down despite the easing of lockdown restrictions.

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New data shows foot traffic and spending is well-down, particularly in Auckland, with some stores operating 70 per cent below normal. Source: 1 NEWS

New data shows foot traffic and spending is well-down, particularly in Auckland, with some stores operating 70 per cent below normal.

For the first week of Alert Level 2 there was a flurry of spending as shops re-opened, but since May 22, spending has dropped off again and has been 15 per cent lower than this time last year.

Spending in Auckland CBD is down nearly 50 per cent, in Wellington it's down nearly 30 per cent, and in Christchurch it's down nearly 20.

That’s compared with spending in outer suburbs and smaller cities, which has returned to normal.

“A significant impact, really, for many of our customer-facing businesses, so they've got fewer people around and they've got restrictions that come with physical distancing,” Heart of the City’s Viv Beck said.

Companies 1 NEWS spoke to - including Fonterra, Vodafone and Xero - say many of their staff are still at home.

The lack of workers is obvious for many Mojo Coffee stores, which are in high-rise office buildings in Auckland and Wellington.

“We've obviously talked to our landlords and we know which of our tenants are coming back and most particularly Government departments, a really small number of people are back in the office,” Katy Ellis of Mojo Coffee said.

Britomart train station in the Auckland CBD used to be buzzing but passenger numbers are down by 50 per cent, compared to this time last year.

That’s a blow for many inner-city businesses, including coffee shops and florists.

“We're kind of getting no walk-in business at all. All we're getting is a couple of online business,” said Vogue Bloom florist Shirley Sun.

“The worst store is probably running at 20 per cent of their normal trade. You know, it does feel quite sad for us. We're used to busy environments, full cafes, people having meetings,” Ms Ellis said.

“Please come back to work. We really miss you guys.”