Christmas spending lags

Paymark, Visa, 409Spending during the first week of December increased by 4.9 per cent, well below the 2013 growth rate of 8.6 per cent, meaning a slow start to the Christmas period for some retailers reported Paymark.

Mark Spicer, Paymark head of customer relations, said that many people are yet to start their Christmas shopping, so spending over the next few weeks is anticipated to significantly increase.

“It’s also important to take into account the dynamic nature of retail when comparing our figures with 2013. Competition between bricks and mortar stores and online retailers is just one of the factors that could affect what we’re seeing in terms of both volume and value of sales.”

During November, spending through the Paymark network increased by 5.2 per cent from November 2013.

Compared with November 2013, food and beverage spending was up 12 per cent, and accommodation up 13.6 per cent.

Hardware, building and garden supply sectors saw a 8.6 per cent growth on last year.

Paymark reported that spending in clothing, footwear and personal accessories was slow for 2014, with a decrease of 5.1 per cent.

Slow growth during November included department stores, recreational goods, and pharmacies.

November annual growth rates in spending were highest in Nelson and Otago, which may have been attributed to the growth in accommodation spending, and consistent increases in the food and beverage sectors, said Spicer.

The West Coast, Southland, Taranaki, and South Canterbury all had slower growth during November.

Spicer said that lower fuel prices could have influenced the fall in spending to below the average growth rate of 6.9 per cent over the past 10 months.

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