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More than $270 million was spent in Otago last month - at least $17.4 million more than in December 2012.
Paymark - which processes about 75% of electronic transactions in New Zealand - recorded expenditure of $269.9 million in Otago last December.
It amounted to a 6.9% increase on Paymark's recorded December 2012 spending figure of $252.5 million, and was part of nationwide expenditure last month of just over $5 billion.
Spending nationwide was up 7.5% last December over December 2012.
Throughout 2013 Paymark processed 986 million transactions totalling $49.3 billion.
The average transaction value was $50, up 0.2% on the 2012 average.
Increased spending last month compared with December 2012 was recorded in various retail categories, including pet stores (9.2%), sporting and camping equipment stores (9.3%), footwear retailers (9.2%), watch and jewellery shops (8.7%), furniture stores (11.5%), duty free shops (17.3%), hospitality (9.5%) and accommodation (11.1%).
Paymark said 2013 was the fastest 12 months of growth since 2008.
Head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said there was record-setting spending on both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.
''It is not surprising to finish on such a high in December. A lot of sectors have shown some strong spending patterns through the month and many retailers will be very pleased with the results,'' he said.
The area with the largest increase in spending was Gisborne (9.9%), followed by Marlborough (9.4%) and Palmerston North (9%). The least growth occurred on the West Coast (2.7%) and in Wellington (3.3%).
There were 15.2% more credit card transactions last month than in December 2012, and 4% more debit card transactions.
In Otago there were 4.89 million transactions last month, up 6.2% on the 4.61 million transactions in December 2012.