Local purse strings being pulled tight
South Canterbury had the lowest growth rate in the country for electronic transaction spending last month, at only 1.4 per cent.
Local retailer Ashley Milliken says consumers have shut their wallets.
Paymark figures released yesterday compared all Paymark electronic transactions in February last year with this February.
Nationwide figures showed a 7.4 per cent increase in spending, well above the picture in South Canterbury. Paymark processes more than 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.
Mr Milliken said the figures portrayed the correct picture.
"Consumers have closed their wallets en masse. I don't know what's going on," Mr Milliken said.
He said retailers would agree with him, and people needed to start spending to keep the economy going.
Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said spending growth had levelled out since December, which could be attributed to many factors.
However, most importantly he believed the data showed New Zealand had reached a mature stage of the business cycle.
He said the high-growth sectors were entertainment, hospitality and accommodation, while chemists and clothing shops were the low-growth sectors.
Mr Spicer said it was now back to business for the majority of Kiwis, with work and school very much back in session.
That showed across most spending.
Marlborough had the highest growth rate in spending, at 12.1 per cent. In actual numbers, Kiwis swiped their electronic transaction cards 5.79 million times more this February than in February 2013.
- The Timaru Herald