Card spending hits new heights

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 11:50 09/01/2014

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Shoppers in Marlborough reached for their bank cards during December, recording the country's biggest increase in electronic transactions compared with the same time the previous year.

Marlborough and Gisborne recorded a 7.8 per cent increase in electronic transactions, Paymark figures released yesterday showed.

Paymark processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

Marlborough logged 1.1 million electronic transactions in December 2013, compared with 1.02 million in December 2012.

The spending rate for Marlborough in December was also up on the previous year, with the 9.4 per cent increase the second-highest in the country.

Marlborough retail outlets cashed in on $61.8m in spending in December, compared with $56.5m in December 2012.

Among the retailers that benefited most were furniture stores, which logged double-digit year-on-year growth in December, up 11.5 per cent.

In Blenheim, Lynfords Furniture store staff noticed a considerable lift in spending between December 2012 and 2013.

Lynfords employee Darren Thomason said while December had been busy, the entire year had seen strong sales.

The store was busiest in early December, the biggest sellers being outdoor furniture such as deck tables and chairs, and umbrellas.

Paymark's head of sales and marketing, Paul Whiston, said Paymark spending nationwide was up 7.5 per cent between December 2012 and December 2013, the fastest year of growth since 2008. "For the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis we're seeing a significant increase in spending, which should bring optimism for most Kiwi retailers, and hopefully we see this momentum continue into 2014."

Spending in December was strongest in Gisborne, up 9.9 per cent on the previous year, and lowest on the West Coast, up just 2.7 per cent.

During December, the volume of card transactions nationwide was 6.8 per cent higher than a year ago, with credit card growth up 15.2 per cent, compared with debit card growth, up just 4 per cent.

Duty-free shops recorded the highest spend increase, 17.3 per cent up on the previous December.

Kiwis and tourists appeared to be making the most of holidays, with nationwide accommodation spending up 11.1 per cent, in contrast to no real year-on-year growth 12 months earlier. The hospitality sector was up 9.5 per cent.

Spending at pet stores rose 9.2 per cent, sporting/camping equipment stores enjoyed a 9.3 per cent increase, footwear retailers were up 9.2 per cent and watch/jewellery shops were up 8.7 per cent.

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- The Marlborough Express

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