TVs and stereos and small electrical goods are mostly imported and Sony have a good presence here, so have Panasonic and Casio. With IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard being the main players in the computer field.
All tastes in furniture are catered for, but the range in each style is limited. There is a thriving second hand market and plenty of material shops if you want to make your own drapes.
Deka is similar to Woolworths in the range of goods it carries but much of it is poor quality, although to be fair, prices are cheap. Briscoes is another similar store and is a good place for small electrical goods and linen. Look out for the sales - they are genuine.
Branches of The Warehouse, a distinctive red building, can be found the length and breath of New Zealand. They sell household items, toys, stationery, garden furniture, tools, linen and clothes. A real success story that came about when the ban on imports was lifted. Someone had the idea to import goods in bulk and then sell direct to the public. This has resulted in very reasonable prices, although some argue it has harmed the manufacturing industry in New Zealand. Well worth a look round, particularly for cheap things for the home.
A ‘Farmers’ department store can be found in most shopping malls. You can buy beds, whiteware and furniture, linen etc. Noel Leeming and Bond and Bond are Nationwide appliance stores that often have special deals.
PaperPlus or Whitcoulls is the nearest you will find to WH Smith but the thing you will notice after a while is that the stock always seems to remain much the same. There is little variety in pens and pencils and books are expensive.
Decorating shops are on the increase. You will find that paint is expensive. Interior decorating has not been such a priority here, but that is slowly changing. Carpets are mostly plain and rugs can be bought cheaply.
It is certainly worth shopping around in New Zealand. Prices can vary by about $10 - $15.00 on a small $50.00 item and on larger items you could easily save $150.00. I would not buy a large item now without phoning round for a price.
Most areas have their own shopping malls. They largely carry the same range of shops. A typical mall would have a Deka, Hallensteins, Farmers, Paper Plus, Glassons, a jewellery store, and a supermarket, with a few small locally owned shops and a Warehouse not far away.