Retailers brace for Christmas rush
5 December 2008
November spending is quiet as retailers brace for Christmas rush
Paymark-processed transactions were up 1.2 percent in the last 28 days of November versus the same month in 2007, a sharp drop in the growth rate of previous months. In total $3.54 billion was spent across the Paymark network for the month, via 68 million card transactions.
The largest contributor to the downturn was fuel outlets, which was the result of lower petrol prices and fewer card transactions at petrol stations. Total spending remained down at furniture and appliance outlets while dollars spent at supermarkets, fresh produce stores and takeaway retailers rose again in November.
Regions to experience fastest growth in November were South Canterbury, Gisborne and Taranaki/Taupo. Conversely the Bay of Plenty, Nelson and Auckland/Northland regions had the smallest spending increases.
The low spending figures, coupled with the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Thursday this year, suggest that shoppers may be waiting until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping.
Paymark CEO Simon Tong says; “The last time Christmas Day fell on a Thursday was in 2003 and during that period we saw a sharp spike in spending on the three week days prior to Christmas. In a typical week spending peaks over the weekend but we may see this year follow the same trend as 2003 with a last minute retail rush.”
Paymark processes three quarters of all New Zealander’s electronic transactions in store. Last year Kiwis spent more than $4 billion through the Paymark network in the weeks before Christmas. Paymark will be working hard to ensure these transactions are processed as smoothly and efficiently as possible.