Paymark figures released today reveal Bay of Plenty shoppers have spent more than any other region over the past month.

People spent $298.7 million 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.

For the first half of this year, annual spending growth was 14.8 per cent among restaurants, cafes and bars.

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Spending was also up 11.4 per cent for homewares 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.

Nationally, spending was up 5.5 per cent.