Retail spending was down 2.4 per cent in Hawke's Bay for the month of April, compared to the corresponding time last year, Paymark figures show.
The number of transactions was also down, at 2 per cent fewer than last year.
Napier Inner City Marketing board member Graham Bell said while some retailers might be experiencing a dip, overall the sector was confident. "The Napier retail sector is in reasonably good heart despite the whole global financial crisis going on," he said. "When you look at retailing in Napier there is a huge amount of investment going on. When you get refurbishments and new retail premises being built, it makes for a fairly positive climate."
Hastings City Business Association acting chairwoman Sandra Hazelhurst said retail in Hastings was also in good health.
"Hastings has a diversified economy with a large seasonal workforce in primary industries such as agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. The spin-off from this helps even out the highs and lows and keeps retail sales consistent," she said. "The city has attracted significant investment in retail developments that are in varying stages of progress. The new Farmers store is due to open in the next couple of months and is expected to give the CBD a significant boost."
Nationally retail spending fell 0.3 per cent in April.
Paymark head of sales and marketing, Paul Whiston, said a major contributor to the decline in April spending was three national holidays plus five Sundays and Mondays. "Strip out these holiday effects and the underlying trend of modest spending growth does remain but that has taken second priority in April - the general picture presented by the Paymark figures is that people tended to enjoy the good weather while holidaying in the regions," he said.
The hardware sector was up 5.1 per cent and the hospitality sector up 5.8 per cent. Palmerston North and Auckland/Northland experienced spending rises of 4.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.
Marlborough, Wairarapa, Gisborne and West Coast experienced the biggest spending dips, reporting 4.7 per cent, 4.3 per cent, 3.4 per cent and 3.1 per cent negative growth respectively.
The Paymark network processes more than 75 per cent of all electronic retail transactions.