Hawke's Bay retailers are eyeing a bumper holiday period, with city centres in Hastings and Napier already "pumping" ahead of the Christmas rush.
Latest data from Paymark, which processes about three-quarters of all electronic transactions, show spending last month rose 5.4 per cent year-on-year, with a total of $151.7 million worth of transactions recorded.
The number of transactions also rose, with debit and credit cards swiped 3,350,000 times over the month - a 4 per cent rise from the same month last year. That worked out at an average of about $45 per purchase.
The latest figures topped off a good month for the region's retailers, following the success of Black Friday on November 23 when Paymark processed 140,000 transactions, as Hawke's Bay consumers spent $7m in a day.
Hastings Business Association acting general manager Kelly Nolan said the figures were representative of what retailers were seeing at the shop-front.
"It's great to see the spending figures reflecting the feel on the street. Hastings CBD is pumping and retailer confidence is high going into the holiday period.
"We've see strong Christmas shopping already, and of course Black Friday sales were popular across the board."
Spending would also have been boosted by the arrival of eight cruise liners into Napier Port in November.
"The lead-up to Christmas this year has been a particularly busy one," Napier City Business Inc acting manager Steph Kennard said.
"The recent Black Friday sale was great with high sales and transaction figures. The CBD has continued to stay busy and there is no sign of it slowing, with Christmas fast approaching and a large amount of scheduled cruise ships in.
"This week in particular we have seven cruise ships due, with some days having multiple ships.
"To help our shoppers get through their lists, we are also planning a late night shopping in the CBD on Thursday, December 20 where over 75 of our stores will remain open to 7pm."
A Paymark spokesman confirmed that transactions carried out on tourists' cards were counted in the latest figures.
"We don't look at the cards just the terminals so if they use a card at a terminal it's counted."