Kiwi retailers are eyeing a healthy Christmas profit as shoppers spent big on Thursday, an electronic payment system provider says.
A total of $282.4 million changed hands using payment terminals operated by Paymark in what is typically the first of the year's three busiest shopping days.
This was 4.6 percent higher than December 21 last year.
Shoppers flocked to appliance stores, where spending was 32.8 percent higher than last December 21, hardware outlets (up 13.8 percent) and toy and games shops (up 13.8 percent).
Department stores (up 13.5 percent), fast food outlets (up 13 percent), auto parts shops (up 10.6 percent) and cafes and restaurants (up 8.2 percent) also shared in the spending flurry.
But spending in clothes (down 4 percent), watch and jewellery (down 2.9 percent) and book (down 0.2 percent) retailers all fell.
The strong pre-Christmas spree drove national spending growth 7.6 percent higher this December compared to last year as customers spent $4.353 billion through the first 21 days of the month.
Auckland/Northland (up 5.8 percent), Wellington (up 6.3 percent) and Canterbury (up 6.4 percent) all experienced growth.
A new record for the most Paymark transactions completed across the country in one hour was also set between midday and 1pm on Thursday when 596,373 sales were completed.