The latest release of Marketview data reveals that the Palmerston North economy is continuing to perform well despite volatility in the dairy industry and concerns that it will negatively affect the city.
The data shows that electronic card retail spending in the city increased by 3.5 per cent in the three months ended July compared with the same period last year.
Retail spending nationally grew at a slower rate of 2.5 per cent over the same period.
Locally, spending on big ticket items like furniture and floor coverings increased by 14 per cent.
Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith is pleased with the the confidence being expressed by consumers in the city.
“It also reflects all the hard work retailers are doing to attract customers; they’re definitely open for business,” he says.
New car registrations, a useful sign of business confidence, rose by seven per cent in the three months ended July, ahead of the national increase of three per cent.
The overall rate of growth in New Zealand retail spending is tepid, reflecting the current weakness in retail prices. Statistics New Zealand has estimated that retail prices declined by 1.7 per cent in the June quarter compared with the same period last year. The decline in prices was not just due to lower fuel prices, with eight of the fourteen retail sectors reporting declines in prices over the last year.
A big boost in visitor spending has supporting the stronger growth in retail spending in Palmerston North.
Palmerston North had a 28 per cent increase in spending in the accommodation sector in July, a four per cent increase at bars, cafes and restaurants and a 14 per cent increase at takeaways outlets.
Building consents data also confirms this confidence, with very strong growth in the number of consents issued for new housing in June and July.