Southlanders spending up large

19:16, Dec 10 2013

Poll: Christmas shopping in Southland continues to get busier, with people in the region gearing up for the Christmas rush.

Figures for November released yesterday by Paymark, which processes most of New Zealand's electronic transactions, show Southlanders are spending more than they did this time last year.

This follows the October spending also increasing in Southland, from $93.2 million in 2012 to $100.9m this October.

The November figures show a 6.8 per cent increase in spending for the month and a 7.4 per cent jump in the number of transactions made in Southland this November compared with the same month last year. The spending increased from $98.4m in November 2012 to $105.1m last month.

The number of transactions also rose from 1.83 million last November to 1.97 million, a hike of 7.4 per cent. The figures also show an increase of 6.8 per cent in spending in Southland during the first seven days of December compared to last December.

Paymark customer relations head Mark Spicer said during the first seven days in December $26.7m was spent in the region compared to $24.7m at the same time last year.

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It was promising to see the higher growth rate into the first week of the busy period, he said.

"The lead-up is well under way and the shopping has not actually started, so expect a lot more spending closer to Christmas," he said.

The extra spend in the first seven days of December was mainly on food and liquor, suggesting people were keen to stock their cupboards for Christmas meals and socialise with family and friends, he said. He attributed some of the early spending to office Christmas parties and family gatherings.

The spending had transferred through to spending in cafes and restaurants, he said. There was also a rise in spending on sporting and camping gear in the region.

"It appears the warmer weather is motivating people to get their outdoor supplies in order, or accommodation booked, as they make plans to head away over the summer months."

Going on the 2012 activity, the focus of spending would now shift more to the department stores and furniture and appliance stores, he said.

Nationwide during November, the volume of card transactions through the Paymark network was 7 per cent higher than a year ago, with credit card use up 13.9 per cent and debit card usage up 4.9 per cent.

The Southland Times