Retail sales in the region increased by $134 million over the last year, an increase of 7.2% from the previous year. National retail sales increased by $1,069 million over this period, an increase of just 1.5%
The region has recorded strong growth in retail sales compared with national data for the past four years, lifting its share of total national retail sales from 2.7% in 2006 to 3.1% in 2010.
Strong employment growth in the region and improvements in rural sector incomes have been a significant contributor to the growth in retail sales over this period. The region has also experienced strong growth in visitor numbers. Total visitor nights in commercial and private accommodation increased from 1,359,000 to 1,825,000, an increase of 466,000 nights (34% increase) between 2006 and 2010, a daily increase of around 1,300 visitor nights.
Data from BNZ Market View, an analysis of BNZ customers' debit card and credit card spending during the year to June 2010, shows a wide spread of visitors came to the region for shopping. The biggest spending in the region came from the local authorities closest to the Manawatu region (Tararua, Rangitīkei and Horowhenua) but there was also significant spending from consumers across a much wider region (Wanganui, Wellington, Kapiti Coast, Masterton, Lower Hutt, New Plymouth, Napier and Hastings).
It is interesting that most of this growth in retail sales took place before the opening of the final stage of the Plaza expansion in mid March. Kiwi Income Property Trust has just spent $90 million on a significant expansion to the mall and was able to justify that level of capital investment based on the level of growth already occurring in the region. The increase in retail sales as a result of the Plaza opening is yet to be reflected in the current retail sales because of a three month delay before new shops are included in the sample for the survey.
For further information contact: Peter Crawford, Economic Policy Advisor Palmerston North City Council, Ph (06) 356-8199