Keen shoppers avoid Christmas rush

Last updated 11:05 28/12/2013

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Palmerston North shoppers appear to be an organised bunch, with retail spending figures showing many of them got in early to avoid the mad scramble on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Spending figures, released by Paymark yesterday, show a large surge in retail activity this month tapered off on the two days either side of Christmas. Paymark's network accounts for three-quarters of electronic card spending in the country.

Shoppers in the Palmerston North region, which includes Horowhenua, spent $7.2 million on last minute items on Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day bargain hunters spent $3.7m.

While that amounted to increases on 2012 of 15.9 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively, Palmerston North was well below the national spending average for those two days.

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said he could not speculate why spending through the electronic network in Manawatu had not been as high as other regions on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. "Palmerston North has been at the forefront of growth right through the year," he said. "There are so many influencing factors - retails trends, sales, visitors to the region - people in Palmerston North should take solace in the fact that all year they've had the strongest spending increases."

The highest year-on-year increase was in Gisborne, which saw a 35.7 per cent boost in spending on Christmas Eve.

Pre-Christmas shoppers saw Palmerston North lead the country in the first three weeks of December.

The city had the highest regional increase in year-on-year spending, with shoppers spending $115.6m in the first three weeks of this month.

Mr Whiston said Christmas Eve this year was Paymark's biggest day on record, with $238.4m through the network, 18.5 per cent up on the same day in 2012.

"Christmas Eve this year smashed all our records," he said.

"Not only did we see the highest value through the network ever, we also saw the highest number of transactions - at 4.35 million - and the largest number of transactions per second.

"To come off the back of a high like this and to also see the busiest Boxing Day that we've ever seen, is a hugely positive result for retailers."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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