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Spending up slightly in December - Paymark

Monday 10th January 2011

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Shoppers spent nearly 4% more in December than a year ago, indicating modest but improving growth in the hard-hit retail sector, according to figures from payment system operator Paymark.

The value of transactions last month was up 3.9% on a year earlier, beating the 2.8% growth averaged for the first 10 months of 2010 and matching the rate of growth for December 2009.

"While the increase in activity towards the back-end of 2010 would have been an encouraging way for retailers to end the year, the situation remains one where the near-term should be approached with caution," said Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston.

Excluding essential spending on petrol and at supermarkets, spending rose 2.7% in December, up from 0.8% growth earlier in the year.

Spending on takeaways was up significantly, by 24%, and was up 7% on dining out and on general food and alcohol, Whiston said.

Indicating continued caution about taking on debt, debit card usage was up 5.9% and credit card use was down 0.8% last month.

The number of electronic card transactions was up 4.2% for December, compared with growth of 6.5% a year earlier.

Paymark processes three quarters of the country's electronic transactions.



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