Spending remained subdued in May, with an uptick on Mother’s Day

(Source: Bigstock)

New Zealanders’ retail spending remained challenging for retailers in May, but there were improvements for several sectors over the Mother’s Day weekend, according to payment service company Worldline NZ.

Data from the company’s payment network shows that consumer spending through core retail merchants (excluding hospitality) was $2.93 billion, up 0.8 per cent year on year. The growth was driven by food, largely offset by lower sales in other sectors.

Spending rose 4 per cent at food and liquor stores, but fell 2.1 per cent at shops selling only liquor, which suggests consumers mainly spent on weekly groceries, said Bruce Proffit, Worldline NZ’s chief sales officer.

Excluding the uplift from food and liquor, spending among the rest of the Core Retail merchants (excluding Hospitality) was down 4.7 per cent.

Proffit noted that Mother’s Day was the “bright spot” for the Hospitality sector in May. 

“Overall that weekend, we saw a lift in spending on clothes, flowers, specialty foods, jewellery, gifts, and time at the hair salon, plus some liquor – much of which was likely gifts for Kiwi mums’ special day.”

Beyond the goods sector, however, consumer spending in hospitality was generally weak across the entire month, Proffit remarked.

By region, spending growth for core retail merchants (excluding hospitality) was the highest on the West Coast (up 5.6 per cent) and Whanganui (up 5.2 per cent). Southland saw the biggest decline of 6.8 per cent, followed by Bay of Plenty (down 2.3 per cent) and Gisborne (down 2.1 per cent).

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