Taranaki's retail sector is growing faster than the national average, according to a new study.
Despite some reports of doom and gloom in the sector, the Venture Taranaki-commissioned report showed a total of $572.2 million was spent in the region in the six month period ending December 2013.
Compared with the same period in 2012, spending had increased 8.4 per cent, well above the national increase in spending of 1.7 per cent.
Of the $572.2m total, $428.4m was spent in the New Plymouth District, $99.2 in South Taranaki and $44.6 in the Stratford District.
Paul Scouller, owner of Devon St boutique clothing store Kudos and a member of the New Plymouth Business and Retailers Association, said the strong increase in spending could only be good for the sector.
"It's great to hear that, because we need positive growth," he said.
The increases in the region appeared to be driven by groceries and fuel, with a third of the New Plymouth District's total spend and more than 40 per cent of South Taranaki's going on groceries.
In the Stratford District, about a third of total spend went on fuel.
The number of transactions in Taranaki had also increased over the six-month period to 12.2 millon, up 6.1 per cent on the same time in 2012 and well above the national increase of 2.9 per cent. The average value of each transaction was $47.
Online transactions by Taranaki cardholders in 2013 had increased in each quarter by between 8 and 13 per cent compared with 2012, but the increase in online spending by the region's cardholders was generally less than in the rest of New Zealand.
Ernie Heath, general manager of New Plymouth's Centre City mall, said the complex was tracking well, reflecting the study's results.
"Foot traffic is basically static compared with the last two years, but turnover is increasing."
He said gross turnover in January was up 5.6 per cent compared with the same time last year, and up 8.1 per cent in February compared to the same time last year.
Margaretha Hodgetts, owner of Stratford Paper Plus, said retail was static and she agreed that most of the increases in the district reflected an increase in spending on necessities like fuel and groceries.
"We're not complaining, we've just got to work harder and smarter," she said.
VT commissioned the report by transactional data analysis company Marketview.
The Marketview data used was based on the spending and transactions of BNZ credit and debit (Eftpos) card holders, as well as data from electronic transaction provider Paymark, which provides about 70 per cent of transactions in New Zealand.
BNZ Marketview does not pick up hire purchase, direct debit and credit payments or cash-based spending.
The information was released yesterday by VT and will be provided on a six-monthly basis to "inform businesses and enable benchmarking to foster growth".
By The Numbers
New Plymouth: $428.4m spent, 75 per cent of total spent in region.
Stratford: $44.6m spent, 8 per cent of total spent in region.
South Taranaki: $99.2m spent, 17 per cent of total spent in region.
- Taranaki Daily News
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