Late start to winter slows sales

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 13:09 15/07/2014

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New Zealanders are spending more on DIY and eating out but the late start to winter is taking its toll on our other shopping habits.

Paymark, which processes more than 75 per cent of all electronic transactions, says spending on its network in the year to June was up 7.3 per cent. This was more than double the growth rate of each of the last two years.

Regions with the highest annual spending growth rate were Southland up 8.5 per cent, Otago 6.8 per cent and Canterbury 6.5 per cent.

The worst-performing regions were South Canterbury up just 0.9 per cent, Nelson 1.1 per cent, and Taranaki 1.9 per cent.

Hardware stores were the big winners, with spending increasing 37.4 per cent, followed by cafes and restaurants 21.7 per cent and the automotive sector increasing 16.3 per cent, largely due to rising petrol prices.

Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said a strong housing market and the Canterbury rebuild were driving spending at hardware stores.

The mild winter has hit clothing retailers, resulting in a 5.3 per cent decline in sales value in the year to June 30.

Spending on appliances fell 6.5 per cent while department stores rang up 4 per cent less in takings.

Spicer said a mild start to winter meant people were delaying buying winter goods.

"In the most recent month the growth rate has slowed but a late start to winter is thought to be a key factor," the Paymark report said.

Statistics NZ figures support this, with sales using electronic cards showing retail spending was unchanged in June, after a 1.2 per cent jump in May.

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