Shoppers spend big

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 06:48 10/12/2013
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Marlborough shoppers are opening their wallets wider than other regions in the leadup to Christmas.

Paymark, which processes three-quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, logged spending in the first seven days of this month as up 8.1 per cent nationally and up 10.1 per cent in Marlborough.

Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said Marlborough shoppers spent $4.4 million more than in the same week last year, a 12 per cent increase. "This is a great news story for Marlborough and retailers," he said.

He wondered whether there had been a big Marlborough wine industry event last week contributing to the spending boom. The one national event on the calendar was the South Island Marching Championships, which drew 31 teams from around the country to Blenheim last weekend.

"We are seeing the start of the Christmas shopping period," Mr Spicer said. "However, there is still a way to go before the big Christmas rush sets in."

An upsurge in national spending in cafes and restaurants in November marked the start of the festive season of office parties and family gatherings, he said. Hospitality was among the fastest-growing sectors, registering 11.4 per cent growth in 12 months.

Based on last year's Christmas spending, furniture and appliance store sales would lift as people bought gifts, Mr Spicer said.

Marlborough recorded 840,000 transactions during November, up 9 per cent on November 2012 but below the 900,000 recorded in October.

There was a 10.1 per cent increase in the value of those transactions, from $43.7m last November to $48.1m last month.

Nationally, spending increased from $4.1 billion last November to $4.4b this November.

Spending was up in all regions led by Marlborough (10.1 per cent), Palmerston North (9.7 per cent) and Otago (8.4 per cent).

Nationwide, shoppers made 7 per cent more card transactions last month than a year ago, with credit card use up 13.9 per cent and debit cards up 4.9 per cent.

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- The Marlborough Express

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