Retail spending across Hawke's Bay has staged a mini recovery since Covid-19 lockdown levels were eased.
Spending dropped more than 50 per cent during lockdown, but consumers have since returned to the shops, with money spent on home and recreation up, but money on fuel and accommodation down, the latest Marketview spending transaction reports show.
In Hastings, just before lockdown, the number of transactions and value of spend spiked by roughly $3 million above average in the week of March 22 to about $16m.
Hastings District Council economic development manager Lee Neville said this is a result of the public "stocking up on supplies" pre-lockdown.
This was followed by a sharp slump in the weeks following until April 12, when spending fell to just over $7m.
Neville said although retail spending halved during lockdown in the district, it soon rose as restrictions began to ease.
"In the week of May 2020, spending rose to just over $14m, about $1m higher than the same time last year - a possible result of pent-up demand," he said.
"This may be a bubble as people return to their usual activity and may reduce – the value of spending seems to reflect the activity on the streets in the Hastings and Havelock North CBDs, and across the district."
Food, pharmacy supplies and liquor sales increased 14 per cent in May on the same time last year in Hastings, while clothing and footwear increased 18 per cent, and home and recreational spending was up 62 per cent.
Fuel and accommodation spending was down 15 per cent and hospitality decreased by 8 per cent.
Hastings councillor Wendy Schollum said the move to alert level 1 "increased anxiety" for retailers, with concern that consumers would focus less on shopping locally.
"As consumers we all have a part to play. By buying locally, we are supporting local owners to employ local people.
"We can all help our urban centres by shopping local, and taking advantage of our wonderful local hospitality and entertainment offerings as they open up again throughout alert level 1."
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the council is focused on helping businesses in the district recover post-Covid-19.
"Our Hastings District Economic Recovery Plan and our Hastings Alive – City Centre Revitalisation Plan will help our city centre and town centres keep our businesses trading and our people employed," she said.
"We want to do everything we can to minimise the impact of Covid-19 so they can come out of this as best as possible."
In the week ending May 31, Napier saw total retail spend increase 7.2 per cent compared with the same time last year.
Napier saw a rise in food, liquor and pharmacy purchases, with total sales rising to $6.1m in the week ending May 31, compared with $5.4m in the same period in 2019.
Napier's total spend in the time frame was $14.1m, compared with $13.1m last year.
Central Hawke's Bay
Central Hawke's Bay District Council recorded a 20.2 per cent increase in average retailer spend in the seven days before alert level 4 lockdown compared with the same period in 2019.
"An assumption can be made that this increase was a result of people stocking up on supplies ahead of the impending lockdown," a CHBDC spokeswoman said.
In the weeks that followed, average spending plummeted across all sectors with a low of -54.8 per cent reached on the week of April 10. The exception was supermarkets which maintained a flatter curve, reaching a low of only -2.8 per cent on the same date.
Since level 2 began Central Hawke's Bay has followed similar patterns to the rest of the region, with the average retail spend up 12.3 per cent on the week of June 9 compared with last year.
Central Hawke's Bay District Council was unable to provide exact financial values.