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NZ retail spending on credit, debt cards rises

NZ retail spending on credit, debt cards rises to highest this year

By Paul McBeth

Dec. 9 (BusinessWire) – New Zealanders spending on their credit and debit cards at retailers was the highest it’s been all year last month as consumers prepare for the Christmas shopping season.

Spending on electronic cards at retailers rose 0.7%in November to an unadjusted $3.86 billion, according to Statistics New Zealand, from being unchanged in October. Fuel was the main contributor, with a 3.2% gain. It was the most since December last year when consumers spent $4.6 billion. So-called core retail transactions, which exclude motor vehicle-related industries, rose 0.3% to $3.233 billion.

The data could alleviate concerns that subdued consumer sentiment is restraining the immediate prospects for the economy. Retailers were the only group to register an increase in confidence in the National Bank Business Outlook last month, and Paymark data showed retail spending on electronic cards rose 1.2% last month from 2008. Paymark’s system accounts for about 75% of all EFTPOS transactions in New Zealand.

“Retailers have had a pretty tough time over the past 18/24 months and are looking for a reasonably solid period as it makes up quite a big chunk,” said Philip Borkin, economist at ANZ National Bank. “While we might see a better Christmas than 12 months ago, we’ve still got a way to go yet.”

Spending on consumable items such as food and liquor dropped 0.7% from
October, according to the government data, while durables gained 0.4%. Spending on hospitality declined 1.2%, while services increased 0.9%. Apparel 1.2% rose.

Borkin said net migration and a resurgent housing market had underpinned confidence among consumers who are “beginning to open their wallets,” though this is offset by household deleveraging and a weak labour market.


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