Bay retailers have endured a $12 million drop in spending from March to April, as seasonal change and tighter spending mark tough times for the sector.
Figures show 489 million electronic transactions, totalling $234 million, were processed by Paymark in the Bay of Plenty last month.
This was $12.3 million less than was spent in March.
But April figures were up 1.9 per cent on the same month last year and the value of sales was $2 million more (0.8 per cent).
Paymark processes about 75 per cent of New Zealand's electronic card transactions.
Ben Tuck of Broncos Outdoors in Tauranga said business had been "very soft" this year as a result of Psa and the drought, especially in recent weeks.
"We sell to a lot of kiwifruit farmers who are shooters and fishermen and because they are struggling, we see a downturn in business because they are getting squeezed," Mr Tuck said.
"The farming sector, with the unbelievable dry weather, they've been hit bad and we are feeling that as well. So the money is less, so we feel it.
"Because our business is with things people want, rather than need."
Mr Tuck said the upside was that online business was going well, with orders coming from across New Zealand.
Charles Robertson, of Robertson's Menswear in Mount Maunganui, had noticed a slow-down but said it was due to the season as much as the economy.
"Everything is on the weather and if the weather's crap people don't spend money."
Parents had been slower to buy school sports uniforms this year, he said. "For particularly March, I've seen it reflected here, people have a lot of costs kids going back to school, rates," he said. "I think it's indicative that the dollars that are there are being spread around."
Despite a cracker summer Mr Robertson predicted a tough winter's trading. "We've just had the main school holidays and it was very noticeable there was people around with family but they don't have any extra money to spend."
Mount Mainstreet manager Leanne Brown said the downturn was typical leading into winter but the extended summer weather had helped elongate the season to keep retailers happy.
"If it's better than last year, that's definitely positive."
Mount Maunganui was a seasonal township and retailers were aware of that, she said.
Nationally, spending over the first four months of the year was up 3.9 per cent on the same period in 2012. April saw a boom in spending on clothing (up 11.2 per cent) and footwear (up 8.8 per cent) compared to the last year. Another sector to experience strong annual growth was pharmacy, up almost 13 per cent.