Dip in spending linked to weather

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 05:00 16/07/2014

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Retail spending in South Canterbury plateaued last month.

Latest figures released by Paymark showed the region experiencing a growth of just 0.9 per cent in comparison to Canterbury's 17.6 per cent growth in the last two years.

Nationwide, there was a noticeable decline in spending (June versus June) among department stores (-4.0 per cent), appliance retailers (-6.5 per cent), clothing shops (-5.3 per cent) and footwear outlets (-1.1 per cent).

Sectors with above-average per-merchant spending growth included hardware stores (+37.4 per cent) and cafes/restaurants (+21.7 per cent), both experiencing a strong increase in the number of transactions and the automotive sector (+16.3 per cent) where higher petrol prices contributed.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism's chief executive Wendy Smith said the spending in the month of June was close to last year's level.

Last year the number of transactions in South Canterbury was 1.2 million and this year the number rose by 3 per cent to 1.24 million and the value of spending increased from $65.1m to $65.7m.

Smith said the numbers could be affected because of the weather. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research recently released a statement saying this June was the warmest recorded in New Zealand.

"The weather has been mixed and does usually have an influence on retail sales."

Paymark's head of customer relations Mark Spicer reiterated Smith's view as he indicated the mild start to winter meant a delay for winter goods purchases.

"It would be prudent to not read too much into the slow growth rate for last month. Weather often has a marked effect on the volume of payments through our network so as it gets colder, we would expect to see an increase in spending at those that provide appliances and services that keep us warm and dry," Spicer said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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