Blow to retail sector as Boxing Day spending lower than last year

New figures show retail spending on Boxing Day was down compared to last year. 

Worldline data reveals spending reached $98.3 million on Tuesday, down 0.6 percent on last year, in another blow to the retail sector.

Shoppers in Wellington were out in force on Wednesday, hunting for Boxing Day bargains.

"Can't help myself to some boxing day sales like most people I'd say," one local told Newshub.

But many people Newshub spoke to weren't finding any good deals.

"It definitely doesn't have that shine that it used to have," said one person.

And it seems they weren't alone.

According to the latest figures from Worldline, the highest growth in spending was in Otago, while the largest decline was in Wellington.

"We were always hoping for better. We knew it had been a tough year, the result is expected, but we were hoping for better," said Carolyn Young, CEO of Retail NZ.

But those stats only took into account in-store transactions, not those who shopped online.

"[It] still looks like it's going to be a tough few months in 2024," Young told Newshub.

A leading economist said the cost of living is to blame.

"Inflation and high interest rates are continuing to hit households, people are having to be a lot more careful with their spending, and it seems like this Boxing Day they did more window shopping," said Brad Olsen, Infometrics' principal economist.

And with challenging economic conditions still on the horizon, there's a warning for retail businesses heading into 2024.

"I think in the New Year, retailers are going to have to work hard on convincing people to part with what is now a smaller pot of money," Olsen told Newshub.