Canterbury's Christmas spending soars

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 14:29 23/12/2013

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Cantabrians have spent 7.6 per cent more on their pre-Christmas shopping than last year, figures released today show.

Paymark figures reveal the region has experienced the third highest growth in spending - after Palmerston North, with a 9 per cent growth, and Marlborough, with an 8.7 per cent increase.

Canterbury spending is up to $414.4 million this year, compared with the $385m spent last year.

The national spending through the Paymark network is up 6.9 per cent year-on-year for the first three weeks of December, with a tally of $3.6 billion.

The busiest day of the year so far was Friday, December 20, when $235.6 million passed through the tills nationwide. It was up 5.7 per cent on the same day in 2012.

Paymark head of sales and marketing, Paul Whiston, said the third week of December had seen the Christmas rush continue.

"Last week we saw the usual pre-Christmas jump with Kiwis spending more than $1.3 billion between the 15th and 21st of December. This is a strong performance and growth so far for December is still ahead of the year-to-date average.

However the figures did show some variances.

The annual growth rate had slowed as the month progressed, from 8.6 per cent in the first week of December to a 6.9 per cent average over the month-to-date, he said.

''Whether that reflects better planning this year or a reliance on the next two days will be interesting to see.''

High tourist numbers and construction activity had also shown through in the figures, Whiston said.

''Conversely, internet spending may be impacting some sectors, such as clothing retailers and book shops, which are showing low growth or falling sales.''

Paymark processes about three-quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

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- The Press

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