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Paymark sees lack of last-minute Christmas spendup

Christmas spending reached a peak last Friday as households stocked up on food and fuel.

Eftpos company Paymarks says total spending was up 30.6% up last week on the first week of December and up 3.4% year-on-year for the 21 days to December 23.

Paymark chief executive Simon Tong says the steady growth demonstrates shoppers are well organised this year.

“We’re seeing a healthy finish to the Christmas period, with just over $1.3 billion through the tills last week. In the past few days we’ve seen the spending growth rate decelerate slightly to become more in line with the average growth rate over the past 11 months.

“This suggests that while spending is still up annually, many are avoiding taking the last minute shopping approach in the final days before Christmas.”

Paymark, which processes about 75% of all the country's electronic transactions, says particularly strong year-on-year growth has occurred in Canterbury and Gisborne in the week ending December 23, up 8% and 6.9% respectively.

Auckland/Northland (+1.9%) and Wellington (-1.6%) both dropped below the earlier trend.

Total spending through Paymark for the three weeks to last Friday was $3,437 billion, an increase of $112.3 million on 2011.

“Canterbury has really steamed ahead of the other regions in terms of spending growth in the lead up to Christmas. However, it appears Auckland/Northland and Wellington dropped off to some degree in the last weekend, presumably due to early travelling,” Mr Tong says.