A WOW way to buck a trend
Wellington seemed to buck the national trend for weak retail spending last month, thanks to an increase in business travellers and World of WearableArt visitors shopping.
The latest electronic card transaction data from Statistics New Zealand showed national spending on credit and eftpos cards was down 0.9 per cent by value across core retail sectors from August. Consumables spending fell $10 million, hospitality was down $4m and people spent $3m less on apparel.
There is no breakdown by region in the monthly figures, but some Wellington businesses reported positive signs.
Upmarket Oriental Pde hotel Ohtel general manager Alan Blundell said business was down slightly from a year earlier because last year's data was boosted by Rugby World Cup spending, but guest nights were better than expected.
"Particularly at the end of September with WOW, it wasn't as big a drop as we had been thinking, so it wasn't too bad. I think, with businesses getting ready to spend again, the number of people travelling to Wellington for business was up as well."
Although apparel spending slipped nationally in September, local retailers had business boosted by WOW visitors.
Featherston St fashion retailer Janet Paape said spending was "fantastic" at boutique Darling which opened last June. She noticed visitors in Wellington for WOW from a week before the show started on September 27.
"The weather was really good, we really didn't have a lot of rain so there were more people out and about. As far as fashion goes, the new season is one of the more colourful ones we have ever had and people have really loved it - the colours have really attracted them into stores. There has been a lot of publicity about people wearing a lot of black in Wellington so they are coming in thinking it is time to get into a bit of colour."
Spending on durable items such as furniture, hardware and appliances fell $3m nationally.
Paul Harding, owner of Hardings Furniture, which has stores in Cuba St, Lower Hutt and Petone, noticed spending was "a fraction down on last year".
ASB Institutional economist Christina Leung said the overall decline in retail spending in September followed a very strong result in the previous month, and the wider trend was one of a gradual recovery in underlying household spending.
- The Dominion Post
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