11 Apr 2016

Sunshine and tourists boost spending

11:59 am on 11 April 2016

A booming tourism sector and warmer weather have driven a rise in spending using electronic cards.

People on beach and swimming

Beachgoers at Wellington's Oriental Bay during summer. Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

Official figures show spending using debit, credit and charge cards edged up a seasonally-adjusted 0.1 percent to $4.9 billion in March, compared with the previous month.

The growth in overseas visitors boosted spending on accommodation, and in bars, cafes and restaurants.

People also spent more on food and drink.

But the warmer weather hit clothing sales, with consumers appearing to delay winter purchases.

Core retail spending, which strips out cars and fuel, rose a modest 0.2 percent.

Compared to March last year, sales rose 6 percent.

Electronic card spending makes up about two-thirds of all retail sales.