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Dining out and DIY spark Bay surge in spending

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Joanna Claire bartender at Mount Brewing Co.
Joanna Claire bartender at Mount Brewing Co.

Tauranga's bars and restaurants are reaping the economic benefits of what some say are Aucklanders spending up large after relocating to the Bay.

Aucklanders moving or visiting Tauranga are believed to have helped push Paymark spend figures to $298.7 million in the Bay of Plenty in July, up 8.6 per cent on July 2015.

The spend is the highest out of all New Zealand regions for the month, with Gisborne and Hawkes Bay coming in second and third with 8.4 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the city and the Western Bay had been on a roll for the past two years, ''and there is no sign of a let-up''.

Read more: Polar blast brings coldest day of the year to Tauranga

''Retail spending is just one of many indicators that show there is a lot of growth happening in our region at the moment,'' Mr Gregec said.

"The building sector is on fire. House prices are moving up; and people are feeling confident and buoyant."

"The Bay has some unique advantages over other regions. Lifestyle and proximity to Auckland, combined with more local opportunities, means this is as good as good as it gets.

"Basically, for many people, you can have it all in the Bay - and this shows in their spending."

Bayfair Shopping Centre marketing manager Kylie McGregor said Bayfair was experiencing record-breaking customer growth.

July sales for Bayfair were yet to be released but customer visitations for the month were more than half a million.

"It was a stellar month for the centre.

"Bayfair's current sales growth trend is well above the 8.6% reported by Paymark's results, so it's easy to see how Tauranga has experienced the highest growth out of all regions across the country - it's a great time to be doing business in the Bay," Ms McGregor said.

In the first half of 2016, annual spending in New Zealand had grown 14.8 per cent among restaurants, cafes and bars.

Spending was also up 11.4 per cent for home wares such as home decorating and hardware, furniture, floor covering and trade work. This growth, and that of the hospitality sector, was strongest in the Bay of Plenty and Otago.

Mount Brewery Co. owner Matt Hayward said there had definitely been an ''upward trend'' over the past month.

''It's still been really strong.''

Mr Hayward guessed there were a lot of reasons for the increase in patronage, including the bar itself doing a good job ''getting to the market''.

''Plus the fact that the whole town has more of a population at the moment. People from Auckland, probably with more money in their pocket with the property prices, coming down here for the weekend, etc.''

Takara restaurant manager Jason Helms said winter had been up and down.

''I believe it was busier than last year. I can't say why though.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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