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Kiwis keep plastic fantastic in their pocket

Tuesday 15th June 2010

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Kiwis are continuing to keep their plastic cards in their wallets, with electronic transactions in May being only 1.3% ahead of the same month last year.

“Figures show that spending decelerated mid-May and slowed down further towards the end of the month,” said Simon Tang, CEO of Paymark, the Auckland-based company that processes more than three quarters of all electronic transactions in New Zealand.

"This could have been due to a number of factors such as the bad weather, some nervousness ahead of the 20th May budget and an increased anxiety about the global financial markets.”

He said May’s figures repeat the pattern of recent months, and subdued spending suggests continued cautious sales forecasting for retailers.One notable feature was a 0.4% drop in credit card transactions, but with debit card transactions up 4.1%.

The volume of transactions processed through the Paymark network for May was 3% higher than a year ago, an annual growth rate lower than that of recession-hit 2008.

Changes in spending patterns have also been observed by Paymark.Spending in liquor outlets and recreational goods retailers were down 8% and 5% respectively on May last year, while footwear experienced a 21% growth, takeaway food was up 7%, cafes and restaurants lifted 6% and furniture rose by 6% as well.

Regionally, Waikato had a 3% growth rate in electronic card transactions, Bay of Plenty was up 2.9% and Gisborne 5.4%. The parts of the country to experience significant declines were Nelson, down 1.9%, Marlborough down 5.9% and Canterbury dropping 0.2%.

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