Cantabrians spent more than half a billion dollars at the shops in December, ending a strong year for the country's retailers.
Paymark figures released yesterday 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 the equivalent period last year, ahead of a national growth of 7.5 per cent.
And local retailers had $43 million more filter through their tills in December than in the same month in 2012, with Cantabrians spending $572m.
Furniture shop Global Living boasted a 20 per cent jump in sales for December 2013.
Managing director Kieran Kavanagh said it had been a fantastic month for furniture with the outdoor range especially popular.
Kavanagh said he had noticed more people coming in to furnish their newly-repaired houses.
''The market is getting hotter. A lot more people are looking to upgrade furniture or furnish new houses.''
Shoppers nationwide spent more in December on sporting and camping equipment, shoes, jewellery, furniture, products for their pets, and duty free items.
The hospitality sector was also up.
Paymark could not provide regional figures on what people bought in December, but local store owners confirmed national trends.
For Youngs Jewellers in New Regent St, December has always been the busiest month of the year.
Last year, the shop was operating in a garage in Merivale following quake damage.
''A lot of people are showing support for small retailers like us,'' co-owner John Morrison said.
He said women had started to visit the shop early in December to ''make sure they get something nice for themselves'' before starting their Christmas shopping.
Rather than selling big pieces, the shop had sold a lot of smaller items over Christmas.
''We also sold quite a few engagement rings, which is always nice.''
Martyn Smith, owner of outdoors equipment shop High Country, said December was the biggest month of the year.
Sales had been up on last year, and hiking boots were the biggest sellers this year.
''A lot of people are getting back into tramping with their kids now old enough to come along.''
Canterbury was a strong retail performer in a festive season that had record sales at a national level on Christmas Eve, Paymark figures show.
Local retailers have 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.''
Paymark processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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