Consumers spent $47.3m in Whanganui in March, up 2.6% on the same month last year.
With six days of the month spent in lockdown, the result reflects strong trading up until moving into COVID-19 alert level 4 as well as increased numbers in food retailing continuing throughout the lockdown. As a whole, New Zealand experienced a 5.6% drop in consumer spend in March.
Mark Ward, Chief Executive of Whanganui & Partners, says the numbers point to a strong foundation for the local retail sector as the economy opens back up.
“Our consumer spending was rising right up until we hit alert level 4. We know April’s figures will be down on the previous year but even under lockdown, Whanganui’s weekly consumer spend results have been consistently stronger than the New Zealand average. It’s a challenging time for the economy, but the local retail sector had good momentum going into lockdown and there are promising signs that some of that was retained.”
“Looking at other regional centres, we know not everyone is experiencing the same thing. For example, Palmerston North’s consumer spend was down 4.8% in March versus the same month last year.”
Ward is pleased to see the move to alert level 3, which allows more Whanganui businesses to comeback into action.
“It’s a crucial time for our retailers. Let’s support them as they adapt to the changing trading environment they’re operating in. The retail sector is our district’s third largest employer and hospitality is our seventh largest. Local families benefit when the community chooses to spend money with them.”
“I'd love to continue reporting positive trends in this space over the coming months, so let’s all get behind local businesses and show them how much we value their contribution to our economy, community and lives.”
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