Pre-christmas spending boost in Bay

By Genevieve Helliwell

With less than seven weeks to go until Christmas, spending in the Bay of Plenty has taken off with consumers pumping in an extra $10 million into the economy than the same time last year.

Last month almost $250 million was spent in the region, according to latest figures released from Paymark, which processes electronic transactions throughout New Zealand.

This figure was up 4.1 per cent on the same time last year, when about $239 million was spent.

Nationally, October saw 2.7 per cent annual growth in value compared to October 2011, and a 0.3 per cent increase month on month, according to Paymark, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

Paymark head of sales and marketing, Paul Whiston, said the increase was indicative of the time of year. `

"The festive season is just around the corner and the October figures, while modest at 2.7 per cent, suggest we'll see a lift in spending in the coming weeks.

"Typically we see spending build momentum from mid-November, and judging from experience, with Christmas falling on a Tuesday, spending is likely to peak on the preceding Friday, he said.

In the Bay of Plenty, regional figures showed there were 4.97 million transactions across the Paymark system last


This was up 2.8 per cent from October 2011, when 4.83 million transactions were recorded.

The Auckland/Northland region recorded the highest number of transactions last month (31.74 million) while the West Coast recorded the smallest number of transactions (520,000).

Despite the boost in spending, Mr Whiston said retailers needed to be prudent.

"Christmas is always big, in terms of both the volume and total value of transactions, and all indications suggest that trend will continue in 2012. But spending has been irregular of late, up one month and down the next. It's important not to be too expectant _ anticipate a boost but not necessarily a boom.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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