Winter slows Nelson spend

Nelson's spending growth is lagging behind other regions.

Latest Paymark electronic spending data shows a 4.7 per cent rise in spending in May compared with the same time last year.

That compared poorly with other regions such as the Bay of Plenty where spending growth was 10.2 per cent, Canterbury 8.6 per cent, Waikato 8.5 per cent, Palmerston North 8.1 per cent and Otago 7.4 per cent.

Nelson was 12th out of the 17 regions, and its 4.7 per cent rise was well behind the 8.3 per cent national growth rate.

Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan said it reflected that winter was a quieter time in Nelson.

"We are still tracking okay," she said.

The increase was on a par with the previous three months - in March spending was up 4.7 per cent and April 4.8 per cent.

"It's the slower winter season but there is growth and it is consistent."

Nelson's spending increase had slipped from a year ago when it was up 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

Growth was slow in Wellington last month at 3 per cent, in South Canterbury 3.9 per cent and on the West Coast at 1.8 per cent.

Nationally, Paymark described May as a strong and consistent month of trading, with the annual growth in the volume of transactions processed through its switch the fastest since 2008. Kiwis swiped and/or tapped their cards just under 90 million times during May.

Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer attributed the stronger trading throughout May to a 3.5 per cent increase in the number of merchants using its network, year on year, the rise of contactless card spending and an improvement in spending within most of the sectors it reports on - although not all.

Trading was strong in the hospitality sector, with a 14 per cent increase year on year. Food and liquor stores also recorded an increase of 12.3 per cent in spending from the same month last year.

However, spending growth was modest in department stores up 4.6 per cent, appliance retailers up 3.6 per cent and clothing shops up 2.7 per cent compared to 2013, while spending continued to decline within the book, stationery, and video sector which was down 3.4 per cent.

The strong spending data also reflected that last month had five Saturdays this year, whereas last year there were only four.

A trend of credit card spending outstripping debit cards continued. "This is something we can expect to see on an ongoing basis, as more and more contactless cards come into the market and merchants enable their terminals to accept this payments method," he said.

The Nelson Mail