Waikato spends up big in whopping Xmas trade

NARELLE HENSON
Last updated 07:07 28/12/2013
Te Awa The Base
Jenna Lynch/Fairfax Media

'INSANE': People fought for their right to shop on Boxing Day.

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Waikato business is in for a fantastic 2014 if our December spending is anything to go by, according to the Waikato Chamber of Commerce.

Chief executive Sandra Perry said yesterday's Paymark figures, which indicated that Christmas Eve spending was the highest on record, proved that consumer confidence was back with a vengeance.

"It's fantastic for retailers, it shows that there is business confidence out there.

"When you look at the rest of New Zealand [we're] very comparable with them."

Paymark, which processes about three-quarters of electronic transactions in New Zealand, yesterday released figures showing $238.4 million had passed through its network on Christmas Eve, the biggest day since the bank-owned company began recording figures 10 years ago.

That was up a whopping 18.5 per cent on Christmas Eve last year, and even beat out Boxing Day.

Waikato's Christmas Eve spend was up slightly more at 18.7 per cent on last year, at $19.1m.

Ms Perry said the increase in spending was remarkable given other factors remained the same.

"The majority of us haven't been privy to a salary increase and if we have it's been very small, yet there's been this big increase in spending."

Ms Perry said that while the figures indicated a stronger recovery than may have been anticipated, they matched what she was hearing from businesses here.

Paymark figures for Boxing Day were slightly lower than for Christmas Eve, but were still up 10.6 per cent for the Waikato on last year's spend, with a total of $10.2m heading to retailers.

Ms Perry said she would have thought the Boxing Day spend would be slightly more for the region.

"Maybe some people were at the beach. We're not quite as high as the rest but it's still an increase.

"When we look at our own region, the Waikato region, we're still doing pretty good."

Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said it recorded about 4.35 million transactions on Christmas Eve.

"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."

Boxing Day spending this year was up 12 per cent on last year, with about $14.4m more dollars heading to retailers' pockets than last year.

All up, $134.4m was spent nationwide on the day. narelle.henson@waikatotimes.co.nz

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