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Boxing Day sales in Otago were down on previous years, according to figures released by payments provider Worldline.
The figures showed a total of $4.9million being spent at core retail merchants across Otago on Sunday.
This spend was 6% down on what was spent on Boxing Day last year, and 14% down on 2019, the last pre-Covid Boxing Day.
Otago’s decline last year was the third worst in the country. Gisborne (-14%) and the West Coast (-12%) were the only regions to do worse.
This year, Otago had the second-worst decline compared with 2019, behind the West Coast which was down 21%.
Worldline NZ head of data George Putnam said it appeared from the data the Otago region, including Queenstown, was being affected by the lack of international tourists.
Other South Island regions, such as Southland, the West Coast and Nelson, all showed declines, which was consistent with the tourism downturn.
"The other reason tourism is a likely cause is a notable fall in spending through Otago accommodation merchants on Worldline NZ’s network, as well as food and beverage service merchants."
Nationally, $98million was spent at retailers, which was 1% down on last year, but 0.5% better than in 2019.
Wairarapa posted the biggest gain, up 7% on its 2020 spend and a 14% bump on 2019’s numbers.
Mr Putnam said that Black Friday at the end of November now represented a bigger few days of sales than Boxing Day, a trend seen nationally.
"This does not necessarily mean lower spending on Boxing Day, but rather the Boxing Day growth rate is slowing.
"Keep in mind also that Boxing Day spending was weaker than otherwise in 2020 due to bad weather in many places last year and this year Boxing Day was on a Sunday."
Worldline’s figures showed spending before Christmas hit record levels.
New Zealand shoppers splashed out $5.2billion at retail stores in the six weeks before Christmas, a 6.9% increase on last year’s spend.
Several retail workers spoken to by the Otago Daily Times on Sunday said sales had been steady throughout the day.
Ashlee Maxwell, a retail assistant at clothing store Glassons, said takings were about $20,000 down on Boxing Day last year.
"It was busy, but not as busy as last year."
Workers at Wild South and JB Hi-Fi reported a rush of customers early in the day, and a steady stream of customers as the day progressed.