Spending up 25pc on last year

People in Marlborough appear to be stocking up on food and alcohol in the run-up to Christmas.

Paymark figures published yesterday show more than $8 million was spent on food and liquor in Marlborough in the first two weeks of December.

That was up 25 per cent for the same period last year.

The sector includes supermarkets, delis and liquor retailers. Marlborough's spending continues to be higher than the national average across all sectors, with more than $25 million spent in the first 14 days of this month - the equivalent of $75,000 an hour.

Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said food and liquor's 25 per cent hike was the largest increase.

The sector with the largest amount of actual spending in the district was retail and hospitality, Mr Spicer said.

It increased from $12m to $12.1m and included bars, restaurants, general shops, clothing and books.

It was hard to be certain why the increases were happening.

"It does appear that people are getting out there and entertaining and dining and all sorts of things."

Some e-commerce was captured by Paymark's figures.

It was possible some wineries' transactions selling Marlborough wine to other parts of the country in the buildup to Christmas and the new year was being caught in the figures. Nationally, Friday was the busiest shopping day of the month and the second busiest of the year, Mr Spicer said.

"On Friday we saw 3.6 million transactions pass through the network.

"[This was] equivalent to just over $187 million in spending," he said.

"Past trends indicate that we can expect spending to continue this growth pattern in the next week as Kiwis count down the days to Christmas."

The Marlborough Express