Bay shoppers splurged $270 million last month - with housing-related spending showing the biggest increase.

Data from Paymark revealed Bay of Plenty residents spent $16m more in May than the same month last year - a 6.3 per cent increase.

The statistics also show that for the three months to April 2016 housing-related spending, which included everything from home decorating to furniture stores and floor covering, jumped 14 per cent in the region.

Normally we have a winter slowdown and we haven't had our lull yet. It's been fantastic there are visitors around and locals seem to have a couple more bucks to spend.


"The volatile housing market was feeding through into higher spending at shops," the Paymark report said.


The Tile Depot general manager Mike Syddall said its Tauranga store had experienced tremendous growth in the past three years due to new builds and renovations in the city.

"People seem to be feeling more confident in the property market and so are taking on more renovations in the area."

As a result of increased demand in the region, it relocated a few doors down from its Newton St premises and upped its floor space from 400 sqm to more than 550sqm, he said.

"The addition of bathroomware to our store has contributed to growth in turnover. We have installed eight full bathroom displays in the new Tauranga store and have increased our staff numbers from two to five to meet demand."

Home Etc owner Kelly Mitchinson said over the past 18 months there had been a positive upturn in her contemporary homeware business.

"Everyone is a lot more relaxed and positive. They are more confident in the economy and that has a flow on effect."

Greenslades Furniture owner Andy Greenslade said it was definitely busier and he had just taken on two more part-time staff.

"We have been going up for the last three years and our May figures reflect what Paymark has reported.

"Our business confidence is great and we are feeling really positive."

It had a lot of new business from people moving into the region but locals were also spending to get their existing homes looking good, while repeat or referrals made up the bulk of the business, he said.

"I think that confidence is filtering right though and everyone seems to have a spring in their step."

Furniture Gallery salesman Shaun Reed said it had positive growth and had noticed an increase of customers from Auckland.

"We have ticked along with the support of our locals but have seen a lot of people that have moved down from Auckland. That all started about two years ago."

Beds and lounge suites were the best sellers, he said.

Bayfair Shopping Centre manager Steve Ellingford said it had been a stellar start to the year at the centre, and retailers were positive about the buoyant economy, which was a major driver of the increase in sales and foot traffic.

"Bayfair Shopping Centre is experiencing growth above the 6 per cent sales growth indicated in the most recent Paymark figures," he said.

Meanwhile, the hospitality industry was also reaping the benefits and Mount Brewing Co Brew Bar owner Matt Hayward said it "has been crazy".

Its figures were way up on last year and "we've had really solid growth", he said.

"Normally we have a winter slowdown and we haven't had our lull yet. It's been fantastic there are visitors around and locals seem to have a couple more bucks to spend."

Spending growth:

* Bay of Plenty +6.3%
* Auckland/Northland +6.1%
* Marlborough +6.5%
* Otago +6.6%
* Taranaki -3.1%
* Nelson -2.8%
* West Coast -4.4%

- Paymark

New flooring operation 'run off feet'

Tauranga's heated housing market has provided Steve Ferris (pictured) with the perfect platform to launch a new business and hire staff.

The Flooring Room owner had worked in the industry for 15 years after following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps and said it made sense to branch out.

"I was looking at consent figures and the building boom in the Bay and just a saw a massive growth opportunity."

He opened the doors about a month ago and said the "reaction has been fantastic and surpassed all expectations".

Initially he budgeted for five fulltime staff but that number had jumped to seven, alongside 12 contract layers, due to demand, Mr Ferris said.

"We have been scrambling to get staff and layers but have a really good team now. We have been run off our feet and had a fantastic response from customers."

Low interest rates had enabled people to renovate or enhance their homes while the new build market was strong and people were doing improvements before selling, he said.

Alongside its showroom, Mr Ferris said he had also invested in the Bay's biggest - 700sq m - flooring warehouse.