Retail spending in Hastings and Havelock North is on the rise again according to the latest MarketView quarterly report.
For the three months ending June 30 the report, which is based on electronic card transactions with adjustments made for cash and hire purchase payments, showed that spending reached $65.8 million in Hastings and 29.8m in Napier.
This was a near 10 per cent increase for Hastings and a 5.5 per cent increase for Havelock North.
Hastings' biggest growth in spending went to hardware and homeware stores, up 38.4 per cent on the same quarter last year. In Havelock North the top growth went to accommodation, up 110 per cent on the same period last year.
Hastings District councillor and economic development and urban affairs committee chairman Damon Harvey said the most recent increases had continued the trend of the past 12 months.
"It's great to see that our retailers are performing strongly. The economy is very buoyant at the moment which gives people the confidence to spend."
During the past 12 months Hastings city centre had experienced an average growth of more than 6 per cent, ahead of the New Zealand average of 4.5 per cent.
Havelock North had reached an even higher average growth in retail spending over the year, at just under 11 per cent.
Retail improvement was not limited to Hastings city centre and Havelock North, with the average spend across all of Hastings over the last year up 9.4 per cent on the previous year.
Mr Harvey said that was excellent news and the council was very focused on improving the look of the shopping areas and had a strategy to improve the vibrancy of Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere's retail precincts.
Visitors to the area also contributed to the Hastings central city increase, with spending by New Zealanders from outside of the region up by 13.8 per cent on the same period last year.
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said their visitor numbers for May were up by 15 per cent on last year and the spend figures were up 8 per cent.
"Everything is tracking really well at the moment and we are seeing good growth."
Hastings cardholders increased their spending by 8.5 per cent; Napier and Central Hawke's Bay cardholders by almost 10 per cent.
The improved spending figures were reflected in the drop in the number of empty shops in Hastings city centre and Havelock North.
According to the most recent Turley and Co Retail Occupancy Survey, the number of empty shops in the surveyed areas had dropped by five.