Retail spending in Northland has gone up every quarter in the past three years — a trend business leader Tony Collins says shows confidence the region's economy.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand show retail spending in Northland in October, November and December last year was $749 million, compared with $722m in the same period in 2016.
Retail spending in the final quarter of 2015 was $676m.
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Mr Collins, chief executive of the Northland Chamber of Commerce, attributed the constant increase every year in retail spending to a number of factors.
"Northland is growing, the population is growing which means there are more consumers. Unemployment figures are getting better so people have more money to spend.
"The increases in retail spending over the years has been more than just incremental. We've had a strong economy the last three years and consumer confidence is strong."
Mr Collins said since Northlanders believed their businesses were in a good environment, they were investing in their employees as well.
During summer, he said an influx of tourists boosted sales not just in major centres but also in rural towns.
A number of new small to medium businesses have started in Northland which was very encouraging, he said.
"The whole strategy that Northland has adopted of Twin Coast Discovery where people visit areas like the Hokianga and if we can get people to not only spend their money but to stay longer in Northland," Mr Collins said.
In the September quarter last year, the retail spending in Northland was $633m, in June $667m, and in March $695m.