Retail spending in Otago and Oamaru during the first week of December has shown a rise on the same time last year.
Payments provider Paymark has released statistics which show spending nationally through their network has increased 8.6 per cent compared to the same period last December.
Smiths City in Oamaru has noted the trend locally. Manager Brett Latimer said things were certainly buoyant.
“We’re seeing a lot of gift lines are moving, but also large ticket items are up on last year. I think it will continue.”
As in past years, the store has taken on extra staff to cover the December-January period. He expected the trend would continue after Christmas Day.
“There’ll be the big Boxing Day bash, which is getting bigger every year, and the week after Christmas is as big as the week before.”
Suzanne Mather, of Mather’s Jewellery and Times, said sales were definitely up.
“The vibe is a lot better with the third chain going back (at Alliance Pukeuri). People are more positive.”
She said a wide range of items were selling, including Karen Walker Jewellery, watches, diamonds and big ticket items.
Dave Martyn, of Martyn’s Cycles, said things had picked up but it had been a quiet winter.
“It’s certainly up and running now. It’s taken a wee while, but there’s a lot more urgency.”
Farmers department store trading and marketing manager Dean Cook said December had started “nice and strong” for all their stores around the country, including Oamaru.
“There’s always lots of window sales coming up to Christmas and we find when it gets to the 23rd or 24th, it peters off.”
He said the next two weeks would be the busiest of the year.
With sales up 8.4 per cent in November compared to the same month last year, Otago recorded the fourth highest retail spending increase in the country behind Marlborough (10.1 per cent), Palmerston North (9.7 per cent), and Canterbury (9.1 per cent).
Otago’s value of spending was up from $205.6m in November last year to $22.9m this November.
Paymark said the sectors to perform well last month were hardware stores (up 15 per cent), takeaways (9.7 per cent) and restaurants (11.4 per cent).
In recent months, there has also been increased spending at liquor outlets (12.6 per cent), furniture stores (15 per cent), footwear stores (10.4 per cent) and accommodation providers (9 per cent).
There have been pick-ups also for clothing stores (5.7 per cent), recreational goods stores (5.3 per cent) and camping equipment outlets (13.4 per cent).
Paymark processes around three-quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.
By CHRIS TOBIN