Nelson starts to spend

Last updated 13:00 07/11/2012

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Nelson spending has increased more than the national average, latest figures from Eftpos provider Paymark show.

The value of transactions across Paymark's network rose 2.7 per cent last month, compared to October last year, while in Nelson it was up 3.5 per cent, from $71.8 million to $74.3m.

That placed Nelson sixth highest in annual growth out of the 17 regions.

Paymark processes about 75 per cent of all electronic payments in New Zealand. Spending in October 2011 was up 3.7 per cent year on year.

Paul Whiston, head of sales and marketing, said last month's figures were modest and suggested more of a lift in the coming weeks.

"Typically we see spending build momentum from mid-November, and judging from experience, with Christmas falling on a Tuesday, spending is likely to peak on the preceding Friday."

An 18.6 per cent increase in the value of spending at fitness centres and gyms last month, on October last year, suggested Kiwis had ramped up exercise this year in anticipation of the festive season.

Spending at dentists rose 19.1 per cent, while house-related spending also increased, with sales at furniture and floor-covering stores up 9 per cent, hardware retailers up 7.7 per cent and appliance stores up 6.2 per cent.

Mr Whiston said the hospitality sector did not see the same annual growth, thanks to boosted spending last year during the Rugby World Cup. Food and liquor stores and clothing retailers also experienced low or negative annual growth last month.

Canterbury led the country with the value of spending up 6.5 per cent year on year, followed by South Canterbury on 5.5 per cent and Southland on 5.3 per cent.

Auckland and Northland were up 0.9 per cent year on year, while Wellington increased 1.8 per cent. The volume of card transactions was up 2.6 per cent last month, year on year.

Mr Whiston warned retailers against hanging their hopes on a bumper Christmas.

"Christmas is always big, in terms of both the volume and total value of transactions, and all indications suggest that trend will continue in 2012. But spending has been irregular of late, up one month and down the next.

"It's important not to be too expectant - anticipate a boost but not necessarily a boom."

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- The Nelson Mail

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