Holiday sets Bay tills ringing

By Kiri Gillespie

Bay of Plenty retailers reaped a 14.5 per cent boost in people spending up large over Queen's Birthday weekend.

The Paymark report, released yesterday, compared spending in the region over the three-day weekend to the same time period the previous week.

The 14.5 per cent rise compared well with spending increases in other holiday destinations - Gisborne 8.5 per cent, Hawke's Bay 7.8 per cent, Wairarapa 8.1 per cent and Marlborough 10.3 per cent.

The Bay of Plenty experienced 3.2 per cent more spending compared with last year's Queen's Birthday weekend,

Grindz cafe owner Steve Graham told the Bay of Plenty Times all three days were "very busy".

"Quite often on a holiday weekend, one out of the three days will be quieter than the rest, but it was actually a bit of a surprise," he said.

"Queen's Birthday Monday caught us napping a bit.

"We were probably a staff member short, we just base that on previous years."

Mr Graham said there were a lot of families and people from out of town who dined at the cafe over the three-day weekend.

Many customers made a point of telling staff they came specifically to Grindz because it did not impose a public holiday surcharge, he said.

Bayfair Shopping Centre spokeswoman Louise Chapman said the mall was busy during the holiday weekend, with a 9 per cent jump in foot traffic figures for the Monday compared with the previous year.

"That Monday is pretty impressive," she said.

"Rain is always a factor, having the biggest undercover shopping centre in the Bay area."

Spending figures for Bayfair were not available yesterday.

Mount Maunganui retailers spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times in the days following Queen's Birthday said they were busy with customers.

But downtown Tauranga retailers said Queen's Birthday was slower than normal.

The long weekend boom followed a spending growth in several regions during May, with more people eating and staying away from home.

The sectors that experienced the largest increase in spending were food takeaway outlets with an 11.8 per cent growth, cafes and restaurants with 11.3 per cent, and accommodation providers with 8.9 per cent - the fastest growth since May 2008.

Paul Whiston, head of sales and marketing for Paymark, which handles most of the country's electronic payments, said many New Zealanders took advantage of the long weekend to enjoy their last break before the colder months.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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