Christmas spending a little higher
Shoppers are cranking up their Christmas spending, putting just over $1 billion through Paymark's network in the week to Wednesday.
Paymark, which processes more than three-quarters of electronic payments in the retail market, said that was an increase of 4.1 per cent on the same week last year.
The busiest shopping day for the month so far was last Friday, when shoppers spent just over $164m.
Shoppers in Wairarapa delivered the biggest regional spending spurt, up 7 per cent year-on-year. Spending through Paymark's network in South Canterbury rose 6.2 per cent year-on-year and in Canterbury it lifted 6 per cent.
In Auckland and Northland spending was slightly over the national average of 4.1 per cent, while in Wellington it lifted 2.8 per cent.
Spending growth was largest in housing-related retail, including at hardware and building supply outlets, appliance stores, and floor covering and furniture retailers – which were up 26 per cent.
Spending in clothing, apparel and jewellery retailers was slightly down year on year.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said it appeared Christmas festivities were going well this year, "judging by the spending lift at eating and drinking establishments across the country".
Spending at restaurants, cafes and bars was up 7 per cent year-on-year, while liquor retailers saw a 9.3 per cent spending boost.
Whiston said based on historical data, spending through the Paymark network would rise another 33 per cent by the week ending Christmas Eve.