Christmas spending easing but beats 2011

Last updated 13:04 24/12/2012

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Retailers hoping for a shopping frenzy today may be disappointed, with data from Paymark showing the pre-Christmas shopping surge has eased over the past few days.

But spending is still well above 2011 levels.

Paymark, which processes over three-quarters of electronic transactions in retail, said spending for the three weeks ending yesterday was up 3.4 per cent on the same period last year.

Spending last week through Paymark's network totalled just over $1.3 billion, up 30.6 per cent on the first week of December.

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."

Spending growth continues 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, but spending growth slipped in Auckland and Northland to 1.9 per cent.

In the capital spending last week was down 1.6 per cent on last year.

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

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