Spending in Nelson is up, giving the region a confidence boost.
In January, spending was up 6.8 per cent on the same time last year. That's $6.1 million more, bringing the spend up to $95.4m.
Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan describes it as positive growth but not thrilling.
It did not match the national spending growth of 7.9 per cent, let alone Marlborough's 11.1 per cent.
However, Nelson's 6.8 per cent increase was nearly double the growth of 3.7 per cent in January last year, she said. "Doubling our growth rate over two years is looking pretty healthy," she said.
"Nelson is holding its own against the national average. The figures last year were much more modest.
"The Christmas rush is now over, everybody has been on summer holidays, I expect February will see a return to a more normal pattern and Nelson's ongoing economic recovery."
Nelson's growth was ninth out of the 17 regions, while Marlborough led the pack, followed by Palmerston North on 9.9 per cent and Canterbury on 9.4 per cent. Wellington, deserted during the holidays, managed just 2.8 per cent growth.
Paymark, which provides the electronic spending data, described January's spending as positive but patchy.
Its head of customer relations, Mark Spicer, said: "After a big finish in 2013, it's good to see that some regions and retailers are continuing to feel the momentum associated with the general economic recovery.
"The food and hospitality sectors in particular continue to experience strong spending growth but sectors including clothing and department stores and regions like Wellington and Whanganui continue to lag."
Ms Madigan said the mixed summer weather, with sun one day and rain the next, had an impact on retail in Nelson.
Mr Spice said the more buoyant holiday mood and an increase in international tourist numbers pushed the year-on-year growth rate for accommodation and hospitality providers up to 12.8 per cent during January. Food and beverage outlets also enjoyed continued spending growth with sales through Paymark up 8.4 per cent.
Petrol outlets, tyre companies and automotive parts shops benefited from a strong summer, up 11.3 per cent, 8.9 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively.
Spending in furniture and homeware shops remained high, up 10.9 per cent year-on-year. But annual growth in spending in hardware stores recorded only 4.7 per cent, below the annual growth rate averaged since early 2012 of 9.9 per cent.
Spending on credit cards outstripped debit cards, up 15.5 per cent and 4 per cent, year-on-year, respectively.
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