Region goes on a shopping spree
South Canterbury shoppers appear to be spending up large compared with other centres, if the latest figures are any indication.
Electronic transaction processor Paymark revealed the region's electronic spend was $61.9 million for June, a 6.7 per cent increase on the same period last year. There were 1.14 million transactions, a 4.8 per cent increase on the same period last year.
The only region that appeared to have a stronger rise in spending growth was the greater Canterbury region, with a total of $404.1m for June, or 6.8 per cent on the same period last year.
Paymark processes 75 per cent of New Zealand's eftpos transactions.
However, Paymark's head of sales and marketing, Paul Whitson, said although spending in Canterbury was running well above earlier years, it was "perhaps still 5 to 10 per cent behind" where it might have been without the earthquakes.
Monteith's Bar and Restaurant owner operator Claire Edington said growth had been solid, but the biggest spikes – after the earthquakes – had been and gone.
"We probably won't see an influx of cash into Timaru like that for a long time," she said.
"However, the domestic market still appears to be strong."
Timaru Retailers' Association chairman Nathan Smith said the figures were positive news, but could not attribute any particular reason for them.
"It suggests that more people are shopping and spending locally, which is encouraging," he said.
"We could still be feeling part of the effects of Christchurch, or at least have more South Canterbury people choosing to shop here. It's by no means an easy time for a number of retail sectors, but we're all optimistic."
Mr Smith said the August figures would be more significant.
"About that time last year, the Rugby World Cup was in full swing," he said.
"You found a lot of people stayed at home to watch the matches with friends, rather than going out, so the retail and hospitality sector did not feel as much of a jump as some expected."
Mr Smith said last month's good weather, as well as an increase in the number of main street shops trading on Sundays, could have also been a factor.
"Both of those seem to have had positive effects.
"But if the association has one message, it's please keep shopping locally," he said.
Nationwide, Paymark recorded 74.49 million transactions for last month, up 4.5 per cent on the same time last year.
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