Electronic card retail spending in Selwyn on the rise

GROWTH: Rolleston Square property manager Rebecca Gregg said it is seeing a positive turnover growth from comparing its year on year sales.

Retail spending in Selwyn is on the increase – driven by a growing population, the farming industry, the post-earthquake rebuild and tourism.

Latest data shows electronic card retail spending in the district has increased by seven per cent in the year to June.

Rolleston Square property manager Rebecca Gregg said it is seeing a positive turnover growth from comparing its year on year sales.

“(Selwyn) is the second fastest growing region in New Zealand and there are a lot more people living in the area and there are more subdivisions being built,” she said.

Selwyn’s population of close to 59,000 is growing quickly. In 2013 it was 44,595 and by 2025 it will reach almost 70,000.

The figures compare with an 1.5 per cent increase for Canterbury and 3.6 per cent increase for the whole country.

The data from economic consultancy group Infometrics’ shows dairy prices slowly recovering from a rough patch of low payouts is having a positive cash flow affect into Selwyn’s retail sector.

The total dairy payout was $420 million, up more than $150 million from the previous year, but still down on the record $533 million pay out for the 2013/14 season.

Selwyn Business Group member Clint Ward said he had found from talking to other members there had been a spike in retail growth and employment opportunities.

“I think it all came down to the earthquakes to be honest,” he said.

Member and business coach Warren Sargent said generally there is an increase in sales and retail but it is difficult to put a measurement against it.

“But the confidence when you speak to businessmen is higher,” he said.

Hororata Cafe and Wine Bar owner Jarnia Kupe puts the growth of her business down to the developments of the Central Plains Water scheme’s canal in Hororata.

She said more workers along with new families moving out to the township have helped the business phenomenally.

Mrs Kupe said the business makes its profit between 5.30am and 9am when truck drivers arrive.

“We are open at 5am, they know they can get a coffee and pie . . . you have to go where your market is,” she said.

Infometrics senior economist Benje Patterson said while a lot of the extra $150 million from dairy payouts has gone into debt repayment, some of it has filtered through to retail spending.

He said dairy prices have risen significantly putting farmers in a much healthier financial position.

“Now they are back in the black making profit again. They are not spending up like crazy or anything but they are able to take the handbrake of slightly,” Mr Patterson said.

The report said other parts of the agricultural sector including sheep, beef and horticultural are looking good for the next season.

Its optimistic outline for Selwyn’s farming sector has been backed by Federated Farmers Michael Woodward.

He said any spare cash left over from repaying debt will go into maintenance offering the likes of engineers or electricians in the district more jobs from farms.

Mr Woodward said as a result there is a flow-on affect into retail.

Mr Patterson said money is also trickling in from increased tourists who often spend cash on groceries, hospitality outlets and fuel when travelling through Selwyn.

HAVE YOUR SAY? Do you agree with Infometrics and the retail trade in Selwyn is growing? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi.