By Aimee Chanthadavong

Just after one week the 7.0-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks struck Christchurch; the city is finally starting to get back on its feet.

Justin Lynch, director Westfield New Zealand, told Retailbiz that as of today, over 96 per cent of Westfield Riccarton has resumed operation including the level 2 café court, supermarket PAK’nSAVE, Farmers, Kmart and Hoyts Cinemas. The centre initially re-opened after the earthquake struck but had to temporarily close due to the aftershocks.

“Professional engineering and all necessary safety checks were undertaken prior to opening the centre, this also extended to the individual stores.  We have taken a cautious, staged approach to reopening as we worked methodically through the safety assessment and certification of the centre, car parks and individual stores,” Lynch said.

“As Westfield Riccarton serves as an important community hub for both retail and services, it was important that we were able to provide and complete all assessments as quickly as possible.  Customers can be assured that the centre is a safe place to be shopping in and visiting.

“Many of Westfield Riccarton retailers have also been coping with their own personal and family issues following the earthquake and need time focus on those. In recognition of this, Westfield Riccarton did not open for late night trade last week [Thursday 10 and Friday 11 September].” 

To help the people of Christchurch and Canterbury rebuild after the quake, a donation of $250,000 has been made by Westfield New Zealand.

This donation has been made to the Mayoral Relief Fund/NZ Red Cross for the “Christchurch Earthquake” appeal.  In support of the community, donations for this appeal are being accepted at all Westfield Centres across New Zealand.