Canty shoppers spending up for Christmas

Last updated 13:08 24/12/2012
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Christmas Eve shopping
Iain McGregor
CHRISTMAS EVE: Richard Hine, 30, getting sorted for Christmas at Westfield Mall in Riccarton.

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Shoppers are still filing into Christchurch malls to buy last-minute Christmas presents.

Among those loading up on gifts this morning at Westfield Riccarton was Richard Hine.

The 30-year-old said he did not normally leave his Christmas shopping to the last minute, but he had a good excuse - he had only arrived in the country yesterday.

Hine, who lives and works in Hong Kong, came home to spend the festive season with family in the Marlborough Sounds, a commute he would have to make after shopping.

Despite feeling "pretty jet-lagged", Hine said it took him about a couple of hours to find presents for his entire family, from his grandmother to his sister's boyfriend.

Hine said he found selecting a present for his 1-year-old nephew the easiest but picking something for his brother-in-law was the biggest challenge.

Tom Rossiter, 9, was also at Westfield Riccarton picking a Christmas present for his mother, who had celebrated her birthday yesterday.

He said he did not find it too difficult choosing her a gift.

His father, Mark Rossiter, who was helping his son shop, said they decided before they went to the mall to buy "the first thing we saw".

Paymark figures released today showed Canterbury's electronic transactions for the week ending December 23 were up $11.3 million on the same period last year.

The $152.5m spend - an 8 per cent increase - was well above the 2.5 per cent national average.

Nelson increased 0.6 per cent, Marlborough 3.6 per cent, West Coast 1.3 per cent, South Canterbury 3.3 per cent, Otago 2.8 per cent, while Southland dropped 0.9 per cent.

Auckland/Northland spending was up 1.9 per cent, while Wellingtonians proved a frugal bunch with the spending in the capital dropping 1.6 per cent on last year.

The two regions still spent more than $650m combined.

East Coast shoppers spent an additional $800,000, lifting Gisborne's average 6.9 per cent.

Paymark chief executive officer Simon Tong said spending was up 5.8 per cent during the last seven days. 

"This makes it one of the highest spending weeks of the year."

Nationally, Tong said Sunday saw more than four million transactions in a single day - only the sixth time this has happened.

From the Paymark figures it appears Kiwis are focusing on their homes this Christmas, with floor covering and furniture stores reporting spending growth of 20.6 per cent year-on-year.

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Garden stores were also up 10.3 per cent, while hardware and building supplies were up 10.3 per cent. Paymark figures show spending on travel and transport fell significantly, or 7.8 per cent.

Internet downloads may be behind a 3.1 per cent fall in spending at bookshops and video stores.

However, the figures reveal Kiwis may have to loosen their belts this Christmas as food and liquor retailers reaped the benefits of the party season.

Spending at restaurants, bars and cafes were up 7.3 per cent, while takeaway shops were up 6.5 per cent and liquor retailers 11.5 per cent.

Paymark is due to release more up-to-date figures, including spending up until 1pm today, later this afternoon.

- The Press

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