Spending ramping up in run-up to Christmas

Consumer spending has been increasing steadily in the all-important Christmas period, according to Paymark data.

Paymark, which processes around three quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, saw just over $1 billion pass through its network in the seven days between December 6 and 12.

Spending in the seven days was up 4.1 per cent on the same dates in 2011, a higher than average annual growth rate for the year. The busiest shopping day so far this month was Friday December 7, with just over $164 million going through the tills.

Paymark's head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the upward bias in growth came at a good time for retailers.

"Preparations for the busiest week of the year are in full swing, and retailers will be looking to past trends as an indication of what's to come," Whiston said.

"Based on historical data, we can expect spending through the Paymark network to rise another 33 per cent by the week ending December 24," he said in a statement.

Wairarapa (up 7 per cent) experienced the strongest year-on-year growth during the week ending December 12, South Canterbury (6.2 per cent) and Canterbury (6 per cent) continued the post-earthquake recovery and the heavily populated Auckland/Northland region (4.1 per cent) was again above the national average.

Spending growth was high at hardware and building supplies outlets appliance stores and floor covering and furniture retailers - all outlets loosely tied to the housing market.

Conversely, spending was slightly below year-ago levels amongst the clothing, apparel and jewellery sectors.

"It would also appear that Christmas celebrations are going well this year, judging by the spending lift at eating and drinking establishments across the country," Whiston added.

Spending for the week was up 7 per cent among restaurants, cafes and bars, and up 9.3 per cent for liquor retailers.


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