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Retail spending in Hastings district halves during COVID-19 lockdown

CBD Out About 33

A spike in retail spending before and after the COVID-19 lockdown has been identified in the latest Marketview spending transaction report for the Hastings district.                  

The weekly report measuring the numbers for the quarter between March 9 and the week of May 31 this year reflects the impact of the nationwide COVID-19 crisis, when compared to spending and transaction figures at the same time last year.

While between March and the end of May 2019 saw these rates remained steady at about $14m, the number of transactions and value of spend spiked in the week of March 22 to about $16m, a possible result of people stocking up on supplies pre-lockdown, says Hastings District Council Economic Development Manager, Lee Neville.

This was followed by a sharp slump in the weeks following until April 12, when spending fell to just over $7m.

In the week of May 2020, however, spending rose to just over $14m, about $1m higher than the same time last year, a possible result of pent-up demand, Mr Neville said.

“This may be a bubble as people return to their usual activity and may reduce – the value of spending seems to reflect the activity on the streets in the Hastings and Havelock North CBDs, and across the district.”

In terms of what people were spending their money on, food, pharmacy supplies and liquor rose 14 per cent on the same time last year.

Clothing and footwear was also up 18 per cent, while home and recreational spending increased 62 per cent.

Fuel and accommodation spending was down 15 per cent and hospitality and accommodation decreased by eight per cent.

Councillor Wendy Schollum said the results were to be expected given the challenges of the past quarter and there would undoubtedly be volatility in the months ahead.

“As a council we are actively working to help support retailers, most recently through the establishment of an urban centres recovery fund of $150,000 to enable the business and retailers associations in the Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere urban centres to attract shoppers via marketing and promotional activities. 

“The move to Level 1 has increased anxiety for many retailers, with concern that consumers will focus less on shopping locally, as life returns to “normal”

“As consumers we all have a part to play. By buying locally, we are supporting local owners to employ local people. We can all help our urban centres by shopping local, and taking advantage of our wonderful local hospitality and entertainment offerings as they open up again throughout Level 1.”

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said council is focused on helping our businesses get through this.

“Our Hastings District Economic Recovery Plan and our Hastings Alive – City Centre Revitalisation Plan will help our city centre and town centres keep our businesses trading and our people employed.

“We want to do everything we can to minimise the impact of COVID-19 so they can come out of this as best as possible.”

Image credit: Gillian Appleby, Lady Lockdown, 2020.

11 June 2020

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