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Second Week Of Christmas Shopping Season Brings More Cheer For Retailers

Hospitality sector also sees boost in business as peak party season approaches

AUCKLAND, 15 December 2023 – Consumer spending increased in the second full week of December bringing some much-needed cheer to merchants within both the Core Retail and Hospitality sectors, as month-to-date spending jumped ahead of last year.

Consumer spending processed through all Core Retail merchants (excluding Hospitality) in Worldline NZ’s payments network during the first 14 days of December reached $1.625B, which is up +2.3% on the first 14 days of December 2022 and up +15.2% on 2019.

Worldline NZ’s Chief Sales Officer, Bruce Proffit, says the second seven days of December (8-14 Dec) showed the traditional uptick in consumer spending and, promisingly, lifted the running annual month-to-date growth rate from +1.4% last week to +2.3% now.

“This is not a large annual growth rate, especially when compared with price inflation. However, annual spending growth was positive for the week amongst Recreational Goods merchants and amongst the large Hardware & Furniture sector,” says Proffit.

Proffit says spending for the combined two weeks (1-14 December) was up (+6.6%) amongst Food & Liquor merchants and down (-4.1%) across the remaining Core Retail merchants (excluding Hospitality). Other sectors experiencing annual growth include Recreational Goods (+1.1%) and Chemists (+4.4%), while spending at Clothing/Footwear stores remains down on last year (-8.7%).

“The better week was not sufficient to push the Hardware & Furniture merchants into the black month-to-date (-2.7%) but this sector still has its biggest trading days of the year to come,” he says.

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Proffit says the Christmas leadup is also producing the traditional extra spending at Food & Beverage Services merchants in the Hospitality sector, with spending recorded through Worldline NZ’s network at the likes of restaurants, cafes, fast foods, bars, and clubs reaching $431m in the first 14 days of December, up +0.4% on last year.

“Patterns differ amongst these various types of Hospitality sector offerings but, overall, spending is on track for ‘peak party season’ this Saturday (16 December), when spending in this sector is traditionally busiest for the year,” says Proffit.

Regionally, overall spending through Core Retail merchants in the first 14 days of December was up strongest in Whanganui (+8.9%) and Otago (+6.1%). Spending was lower than last year in Southland (-4.1%) and Taranaki (-1.2%).

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