Bay folk shop till jaws drop

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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Bargain-hunting shoppers created a bumper Boxing Day for Hawke's Bay retailers, with the value of sales up 13 per cent on the previous year.

More than $3.1 million was spent by Bay shoppers, according to Paymark, which processes 75 per cent of electronic transactions.

Nearly $37 million was spent in the seven days to Christmas Eve, up by 5.8 per cent on last year.

"The increase is welcome news, it shows there is still good consumer confidence," Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce president Katja Williams said. "Hawke's Bay has been lagging behind in some national statistics and it is good to see the retail sector doing well. We hope it continues."

The 13 per cent increase was the same as the national average. Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the Boxing Day numbers were a "fantastic finish" to an already positive month of spending, and a return to the kind of growth figures seen before the global crisis.

The Paymark network recorded more than two million transactions and $120 million in sales through the national network.

"This is the first time in five years that we've seen double digit growth and we're rapt for retailers," Mr Whiston said.

"It's also great to see that some of the sectors, which have been lagging of late, experienced a real boost on Boxing Day. And the queues and traffic outside the malls around the country yesterday were anecdotal evidence of this."

Paymark saw significant growth in the electronics sector, including computers and phones, with sales up 32 per cent annually. Clothing and jewellery were up 21 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

"Department stores saw an increase of 22 per cent, likely to be a reflection of the many great deals on offer for shoppers during the Boxing Day sales."

Gisborne recorded the highest spending growth in the regions, up 23 per cent, heading Palmerston North and Taranaki/Taupo on 18 per cent.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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