Hopes pinned on RWC spending to improve recent soft retail trading

The value of transactions through the Paymark network increased 3.2 percent (year-on-year) in July and 4.1 percent in August. Both of these rates are below the 4.4 percent growth rate averaged in the first half of the year.

The slowdown in spending growth appears to have occurred across many industries and regions and Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston says that the figures are typical of mixed trend that has been noticeable over the past 12 months.

“It’s been fairly flat out there with sectors experiencing highs and lows at different points throughout recent months. This pattern has come through consistently over the past year and I think it would be fair to say that few businesses have escaped the mixed spending patterns,” he says.

Of particular interest during the last month were department stores (-3.6 percent year-on-year) and furniture stores (-5.5 percent year-on-year) where spending remains below year ago levels. On the other side of zero, food/liquor stores (+7.8 percent year-on-year) and hospitality outlets (+6.6 percent year-on-year) show higher spending than the previous year, but the annual growth rate has declined from the higher levels of previous months.

Noticeably, annual spending growth was above the year-to-date average in Auckland/Northland (+7 percent) during August – second only to Bay Of Plenty (+7.3 percent) – so the extra RWC boost should make for continued strong trading conditions for many Auckland outlets. Conversely, merchants in other regions including those experiencing slow-to-negative annual growth between August 2010 and August 2011 such as Wairarapa (+0.3 percent), Canterbury (-3.5 percent) and Marlborough (-2.4 percent) will be hoping for kick from RWC tourists.

Meanwhile, it seems New Zealanders everywhere are flying the flag for Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011), with every string of RWC 2011 bunting sold out just ahead of kick-off. All 57,000 units of bunting which features flags of all 20 RWC 2011 teams have been snapped up by New Zealand communities and businesses – and at 10 metres of bunting per unit, this would stretch roughly the distance from Invercargill to Christchurch.

Director of the New Zealand 2011 Office, Leon Grice, says this is one small example of how New Zealand is getting ready to hold very special tournament. “The NZ 2011 Office is about helping people to be great hosts and we’re thrilled with the way New Zealanders are pulling together to make RWC 2011 huge success for our country.”

A few examples of the ways New Zealanders are using RWC 2011 bunting include:
• Wellington’s Freyburg swimming pool has replaced its backstroke markers with RWC 2011 bunting
• In Otago, Taieri Gorge Railway purchased 50 metres of bunting to display in its trains, and Mosgiel Business Association purchased 650 metres of bunting to cover both sides of their main street
• Georgian bunting has been put up in every high street in the Wairarapa region, which has gone all out to support their adopted second team
• Super-enthusiastic RWC 2011 fans have taken the bunting as far afield as Cape Reinga, the top of Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku in the Southern Alps, and even to the Great Wall of China!


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