Christmas week spending slip

Organised shoppers hitting the malls early combined with people heading out of town sooner saw pre-Christmas spending slip in Auckland this week.

While still above 2011 levels, Paymark figures show spending in the city eased back to sit at just 1.9 per cent higher than last year while earlier in the month it had been tracking at 3.4 per cent above.

Paymark, which processes over three-quarters of electronic transactions in retail, said nationwide spending though its network last week was 2.6 per cent higher than last year with $1.325 billion spent.

Shoppers in the Auckland/Northland region spent $1.385 billion million in the three weeks to December 21, up from $1.339 billion the year before. Of that, $530 million was spent in the past week, up on 2011's $520m spending.

Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said it appeared Kiwis had been more organised with their shopping this year.

"In the past few days we've seen the spending growth rate decelerate slightly to become more in line with the average growth rate over the past 11 months. This suggests that while spending is still up annually, many are avoiding taking the last minute shopping approach."

He said the spending drop-off in Auckland/Northland could also be due to people leaving town earlier this year.

"Canterbury has really steamed ahead of the other regions in terms of spending growth in the lead up to Christmas. However, it appears Auckland/Northland and Wellington dropped off to some degree in the last weekend, presumably due to early travelling," he said.

Spending growth continued to be strong in Canterbury - up 8 per cent last week year-on-year. Spending in Gisborne was up 6.9 per cent year-on-year and in the capital spending last week was down 1.6 per cent on last year.

Auckland Now