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Slow return to business for some Christchurch retailers

Tuesday 1st March 2011

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Retailers in Christchurch have slowly begun returning to business in the week since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated parts of the city.

The number of Christchurch retailers active on the Paymark network more than doubled to 1534 on Monday from 770 last Wednesday, a day after the quake.

Spending yesterday was down 31% on a year ago, but it was an improvement on the average 46% decline over the previous five days, Paymark chief executive Simon Tong said.

During the five days following the quake, spending in the area dropped by almost half.

The 536,563 fewer eftpos transactions represented a total loss of sales on the network of around $24 million, or nearly $5 million per day, Tong said.

The full extent of the damage to the economy will not be clear for some time.

"Businesses were hit hard last year, but this year they've been hit much harder," he said.

The company was providing mobile terminals and financial support packages to Christchurch businesses.

Paymark processes over 75% of New Zealand's retail electronic transactions.



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