Increased consumer spending in Whanganui reflects confidence in the economy as a whole, economic development agency Whanganui & Partners says.

The latest data from Marketview shows $555.3 million was spent with Whanganui merchants over the past 12 months, up 5.5 per cent on last year. Nationally, spending lifted by 2.6 per cent.

Month-on-month figures for September show consumers spent $44.4m in Whanganui, up 3.6 per cent on September 2018. New Zealand as a whole had a decrease in September spending, down 0.3 per cent on last year.

"We have a lot of happy merchants right now," Rhonda Morris, Whanganui & Partners strategic lead manufacturing, logistics and commercial, said.

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"It reflects well on the goods and services they're putting out to the market – there's a clear demand for what Whanganui is selling."

Morris said the data also reflected well on Whanganui as a place to do business.

"These are numbers that business owners look at very seriously when they're deciding to start, relocate or expand a business. Results like these put us in a very attractive position.

"Consumer spending correlates to confidence in the economy as a whole, which is great to see."

The report also shows the breakdown in retail spending across sectors. Morris said the breakdowns offered a peek into what consumers were choosing to value right now.

Spending on furniture and flooring had the biggest jump in growth, up 23.4 per cent this year; hardware and homewares increased 20.5 per cent; and spending on appliances was up 10.7 per cent.

"We can also see from the data that a lot of retail spending is going into our houses," Morris said.

"Improving them, furnishing them - making houses into homes, essentially."

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Spending at bars, cafes and restaurants was up 8.4 per cent on last year.

"Which isn't surprising given the new restaurant and cafes that have popped up in the past 12 months," Morris said.

"Consumers have more choice than ever and clearly like it.

"The picture this paints is of a vibrant city, where business is booming, people are investing in their homes and enjoying their lives."