16 Dec 2016

Consumer confidence drops ahead of Christmas

6:03 pm on 16 December 2016

Consumer confidence has fallen ahead of the crucial Christmas spending period, although last month's earthquake has not had a huge impact on Wellington spending.

28072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. David Jones opens in Wellington, bringing international brands to New Zealand. Many of the big brands are available.

Wellington stores like the new David Jones store have reported a strong sale start to December. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The ANZ - Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index fell about 3 points to 124.5 this month, when compared with November.

A reading of more than 100 indicated optimists outnumbered pessimists.

A net 13 percent fell better off than a year ago, steady on the previous month.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said Wellington was the most upbeat region.

"Last month's earthquake doesn't appear to have had a material impact. Confidence in both Wellington and Canterbury was down but the move was not out of step with the rest of the country. Both house price and inflation expectations rose modestly. House price expectations in Wellington are the highest at 6.4 percent," he said.

Mr Bagrie said the monthly result was strong and still represented solid economic growth.

Paymark data released today also showed that more than $120 million was spent in Wellington in the first week of December - a seven-percent increase on last year.

Retail New Zealand spokesperson Greg Harford said if sales stayed at their current pace, he would expect December spending to set a new record.

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