14 Jan 2013

Christmas boost for electronic card spending

7:36 pm on 14 January 2013

Christmas shoppers boosted spending using credit and debit cards in December, with transactions rising for the third consecutive month.

Official figures show electronic card transactions, which include debit, credit and charge cards, rose a seasonally-adjusted 0.3% last month.

The strongest rise was in items such as food and liquor products, with consumables rising 0.8%.

Sales for furniture, hardware and appliances rose 0.6%.

Fuel was the only industry to experience a fall, down 3.5%.

Compared with a year ago, actual retail sales were up 3.6% in December.

ANZ's senior economist Mark Smith says the rise has been broad-based, with supermarket shopping, hospitality and the apparel sectors holding up.

"As well as that we saw continued strength in consumer durables. Householders ... have probably seen the discounted items on offer and thought now's a pretty good time to purchase a major item."