Bay shoppers spent $297 million on Eftpos and credit card transactions last month, with the region posting the second biggest annual spending growth in the country.

Some local shopping centre managers and retailers reported record visitors numbers through the door last month and record sales.

Paymark figures showed spending in April increased by 12 per cent compared to the year before. Last month the Bay of Plenty Region ranked fifth in terms of overall spending.

Auckland/Northland came in first with $1.906 billion.


But in terms of annual underlying spending growth the Bay of Plenty ranked second highest, marginally behind Auckland/Northland's 13 per cent, and ahead of Wellington's 11.4 per cent.

Total credit card spending across the country last month was up 2.4 per cent on March.

Paymark chief marketing officer Tim McFarlane said spending patterns within regions and sectors were consistent with four major forces shaping spending patterns.

Lower fuel prices were translating into more spending on other goods and services, including on vehicles, fast population growth and the accompanying rise in house prices, plus merchants providing materials and goods relating to housing, Mr McFarlane said.

Mainstreet Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke said Paymark spending figures last month was great news for retailers, and a range of factors contributed to the local spending growth.

That included Trustpower moving into downtown Tauranga and adding to the economic growth and vibrancy of the city centre which translated to tills ringing more often for retailers, she said. Ms Cooke said the extended hot summer meant the streets were definitely busier, she said.

"Mainstreet members always need more business and the city centre was on the cusp of some extra solid growth and long may that continue," she said.

Downtown Tauranga Kilt fashion manager Katrina Dawick said last month was one of the best April trading months since the store opened seven years ago.

We've definitely got of lot of happy faces out here after achieving record foot traffic numbers and sales.

"This month's sales figures have been amazing with some of our winter items flying out the door.

"There are more people in town and I think the Trustpower building has definitely made a difference to the city centre," she said.

Papamoa Plaza manager David Hill said last month the plaza had its best April on record, with 95 per cent of tenants achieving double-digit sales growth compared with March.

"Quite a few achieved 20 per cent, which is an outstanding result," he said.

Mr Hill said he attributed these results down to extra trading days, rapid growth in the Papamoa area with lots of new faces visiting the centre and a successful school holiday programme.

"We've definitely got of lot of happy faces out here after achieving record foot traffic numbers and sales," Mr Hill said.

Bayfair centre manager Steve Ellingford said April was a "very strong" trading month.

"We have had three years of solid growth and the past eight months has been quite exceptional."

Mr Ellingford said last month the centre achieved record sales and visitor numbers, which meant the centre hit a record six million visitors for the whole year.

"These great results come on the back of a buoyant regional economy," he said.

Top six regions by values transactions
* Auckland/Northland: $1.906b
* Canterbury: $519.1m
* Wellington: $432.5m
* Waikato: $323m
* Bay of Plenty: $297m
* Otago: $263.9m