Canterbury spending above average
The growth in Cantabrians' spending continues to run ahead of national growth.
Paymark figures released yesterday show the region's spending was up 8.2 per cent in March compared with the same month last year, ahead of national growth of 6.8 per cent.
Local retailers had $38 million more through their tills in March than in the same month in 2013, with Cantabrians spending $501m in total in the third month of the year.
However, growth was much slower in other parts of the South Island - spending was up 1.7 per cent year-on-year in the West Coast, and 0.9 per cent in South Canterbury.
Around the country, growth in March was also strong in Auckland/Northland and Palmerston North (up 6.8 per cent year-on-year for both regions).
Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said this quarter's growth rate was similar to that of the previous five quarters.
The underlying spending pattern was consistent with continued New Zealand economic growth into 2014.
"Looking more closely at the figures for March, there is a hint of deceleration across some sectors and centres but it is difficult to get a clear guide with Easter having shifted from March in 2013 to April this year."
National card spending in cafes and restaurants was up 12.5 per cent in March compared to March last year.
Growth was also high at hardware (up 10.5 per cent year-on-year) and furniture and floor covering stores (up 13.6 per cent.)
However, annual growth in the accommodation sector nationwide dropped below the double-digit growth experienced in the previous three months to 7.9 per cent.
Spending via credit cards was up 10.4 per cent year-on-year and Spicer said this could be explained by the surge in contactless cards being used, especially at petrol stations and supermarkets.