Shopping frenzy smashes SC transaction records

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2013

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The people of South Canterbury celebrated the Christmas season by hitting the shops hard, spending $4.4 million on Christmas Eve and $2.1m on Boxing Day.

Figures released yesterday by Paymark show Christmas Eve was the biggest transaction day on record, with $238 million through the network nationwide, 18.5 per cent up on the same day in 2012.

This year's Christmas Eve spending in South Canterbury was 11.4 per cent up on last year's $3.9m. On Boxing Day, South Canterbury spent $2.1m, 8.6 per cent more than the same day last year.

Timaru retailer Jay Jays has been breaking sales records, manager Rachel Whiteley said.

"We have been really busy, smashing budget and beating last year. This year people left their shopping to later."

The shop sold a lot of vouchers in the lead-up to Christmas, with Boxing Day seeing a large number come back in.

"We have crazy sales and about 80 per cent paid with gift cards."

Last year was quiet compared with 2011, as a lot of Christchurch earthquake refugees were still in town and shopping local that year.

Smiths City manager Marcia Ching said the store had had a "phenomenal trading period".

"We have outstripped sales figures from other years. It is probably because of the weather and we have had some awesome deals with people wanting to buy things."

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said Christmas Eve smashed all records.

"Not only did we see the highest value through the network ever, we also saw the highest number of transactions, at 4.35 million and the largest number of transactions per second.

"To come off the back of a high like this and to also see the busiest Boxing Day that we've ever seen is a hugely positive result for retailers."

Paymark, which processes around three quarters of New Zealand's electronic transactions, saw a 12 per cent increase in spending through its network on Boxing Day, equivalent to an additional $14.4m in retailers' pockets, when compared with 2012.

"Yesterday was a continuation of the growth in Boxing Day sales we've seen in recent years. It's also an indication that consumer confidence is high due to the improved economy we're seeing at present.

"Looking at the regions, it's nice to see some of the smaller parts of the country reaping the benefits. Gisborne saw the highest growth on Christmas Eve, up almost 36 per cent on the previous year and yesterday Wairarapa saw an extra $200,000 injected into its local economy, an increase of 17.2 per cent on 2012."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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