Bumper year for Canterbury retailers

Cantabrians spent more than half a billion dollars at the shops in December in a strong year for the nation's retailers.

Paymark figures released today show 2013 has been the fastest year of growth in household spending in five years.

In Canterbury, locals each spent on average $80 more than they did in December 2012.

The region's spending was up 8.1 per cent in December compared to last year, ahead of a national growth of 7.5 per cent.

Local retailers enjoyed $43m more through their tills in December than the previous period last year, with Cantabrians spending $572m.

Shoppers spent more in December on sporting and camping equipment, shoes, jewellery, furniture, products for their pets, and duty free items.

The hospitality sector is also up.

Canterbury was a strong retail performer in a festive season that saw record sales at a national level on Christmas Eve, Paymark figures show. 

Local retailers also enjoyed a surge in Boxing Day sales, raking in nearly $14m to add to the $25.7m spent on Christmas Eve in the region.

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said figures indicate a continued upswing in spending on the network across 2013.

''For the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis we're seeing a significant increase in spending which should bring optimism for most Kiwi retailers, and hopefully we see this momentum continue into 2014.''

December regional spending was strongest in Gisborne (up 9.9 per cent), Marlborough (up 9.4 per cent) and Palmerston North (up 9 per cent). However, growth rates remained low in the West Coast (up 2.7 per cent) and Wellington (up 3 per cent).

Paymark processes around 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

The Press