Bay spending hits $245m in June, topping last year

By Rebecca Savory

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Mount Bistro owner Stephen Barry says it has been a good year for the restaurant, as Paymark figures show  fresh  growth in spending in the sector.
Mount Bistro owner Stephen Barry says it has been a good year for the restaurant, as Paymark figures show fresh growth in spending in the sector.

Spending reached $245 million in the Bay last month, 5.2 per cent up from the same time last year.

The June figures follow on from the Bay leading the nation's spending growth in May with a 10.2 per cent growth on May 2013 to $271 million.

The volume of transactions in the Bay last month were also up from June 2013, reaching 5.1 million, a 6.4 per cent increase.

Paymark head of customer relations Mark Spicer said it was pleasing to see faster growth in the last 12 months, but it was not felt by all industries, regions and businesses: "The reality is that growth per merchant has been modest on average in the last three years and for some businesses, it has been below expectation."

Nationally, cafes and restaurants were among the sectors with above-average per-merchant spending in June.

Bay of Plenty hospitality regional manager Alan Sciascia said there was a general feeling of improvement.

"But if you talk to retailers you will get their experience and these experiences vary retailer to retailer. The Mount is proving very positive, but at the expense of the CBD."

Zeytin on The Strand manager Ulku Altinkaya said the past year had been quieter than most, despite the Paymark figures, and believed it was due to the declining popularity of the CBD.

Mount Bistro owner Stephen Barry said dropping prices had helped attract more customers. The past year had been positive, he said. He believed people wanted to spend less on meals but dine out more often.

Hardware stores saw a 37.4 per cent increase in per-customer spending and Tauranga ITM manager Brent McDonald said it may have been a result of a busy building industry.

"Everything's been busy in the building industry over the past year," he said.

The cafe/restaurant and hardware sectors also experienced a strong increase in the number of transactions.

Nationwide, spending via the Paymark network between June 2013 and 2014 was up 7.3 per cent. This contrasted with growth rates experienced in 2012/2013 and 2011/2012, which both sat at 3.6 per cent.

Annual growth for June remained strong amongst food and liquor stores, up 9.7 per cent, and across the hospitality sector, up 9.9 per cent. But there was a decline in spending from June 2013 amongst department stores, down 4 per cent, appliance retailers, down 6.5 per cent, clothing shops, down 5.3 per cent and footwear outlets, down 1.1 per cent.

"It would be prudent to not read too much into the slow growth rate for last month" Mr Spicer said of those figures. A mild start to winter meant a delay in winter goods purchases.

"Weather often has a marked effect on the volume of payments through our network so as it gets colder, we'd expect to see an increase in spending at those outlets that provide appliances and services that keep us warm and dry."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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