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Sixth Quarter of Strong Growth

Sixth Quarter of Strong Growth

Auckland, Monday 7 April 2014; Spending through the Paymark network for the first quarter of 2014 marks the sixth consecutive quarter of strong spending, with a quarterly seasonally adjusted increase of 1.6 per cent for the period.

Mark Spicer, head of customer relations at Paymark, says “the growth rate we have experienced this quarter is similar to that of the previous five quarters and the underlying spending pattern is consistent with continued New Zealand economic growth into 2014.

“Looking more closely at the figures for March, there is a hint of deceleration across some sectors and centres but it is difficult to get a clear guide with Easter having shifted from March in 2013 to April this year.”
Spending through Paymark’s network in the month of March was up 6.8 per cent, year on year.

“During March spending via credit cards was up 10.4 per cent year on year and we believe that this can be explained, in a large part, by the surge in the volume of contactless cards being used, especially at petrol stations and supermarkets. Spending using debit cards remained lower at 3.9 per cent during the month, also affected by the switch in card use.”

“Strip out the supermarkets and petrol stations, and the annual growth rate for spending through the rest of the economy through Paymark was 5.9%, still a good growth rate but below the 6.5% annual average growth for these sectors over the previous six months”

Trading during March was positive for those operating in the hospitality sector (cafés and restaurants, bars and clubs and takeaways), which experienced continued strong trading during March, up 12.5 per cent, 10.6 per cent and 9.4 per cent year on year respectively.

Growth rates were also high at hardware (+10.5 per cent year on year) and furniture and floor covering (+13.6 per cent year on year) stores.

In contrast, spending at chemists (+3.5 percent) and department stores (-0.3 percent) was only modestly different to last year.

Spicer says that spending through the company’s network in March this year will have been affected by the shift in Easter timings and that the pattern of higher than usual growth in the major centres alongside a dip in those areas traditionally associated with holidaying is to be expected.

“In 2013 Easter fell in March whereas this year it will fall in April. The shifting Easter dates will have a big impact on many sectors and retailers around the country and we can especially see that in the accommodation sector where lower than otherwise usual growth has been recorded.

Annual growth in the accommodation sector dropped below the double-digit growth experienced in the previous three months to 7.9 per cent.

Around the country, growth in March was strongest in Auckland/Northland (+ 6.8 per cent year on year), Palmerston North (+ 6.8 per cent year on year) and Canterbury (+ 8.2 per cent year one year).

Regions experiencing slower growth included Wanganui (+ 2.1 per cent year on year, West Coast +0.9 per cent year on year and South Canterbury (+1.7 per cent year on year).

“As always, there are mixed experiences but, overall, we have seen a solid start to the year,” concludes Spicer.

- ENDS -

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