It was a long time between drinks – and haircuts – for Aucklanders and they made the most of reopening last weekend.

Customers to hairdressers, cafés and bars tripled after the country moved into the new traffic light system last Friday, according to fresh data.

Meanwhile, while spending among other core retailers – including grocery and liquor stores – did not surpass the Black Friday sales rush of the previous weekend, overall pre-Christmas spending across the nation continued on a strong track, exceeding pre-Christmas spending in recent years, latest data from Worldline reveals.

Spending among beauty and hairdressing merchants surged to a total of $7.2 million from Friday until Sunday, up 44 per cent on the same three days last week and up 34 per cent on the same time last year.

Consumers spent $16.9m in cafés and restaurants, up 86 per cent on the same three days last week, and $3.2m in clubs and bars, up 180 per cent. However, both sets of merchants were still trading around 30-40 per cent below the same period last year.

Overall pre-Christmas spending across the nation continued on a strong track, exceeding pre-Christmas spending in recent years.

In Auckland and Northland consumers spent $311m in the seven days to Sunday or $44m per day, which was 11 per cent up on the same Monday to Sunday period compared last year,the survey revealed.

While spending in the rest of the country was $490m or $70m per day, up 7 per cent compared to last year.

Both sets of figures are also higher than in the same seven days in 2019 before Covid-19 hit New Zealand.

Combined, the national average spending through Worldline for core retailers, excluding hospitality merchants, was $114m per day last week.

Worldline’s head of data, George Putnam said: “This spending pattern, in spite of Covid-19 constraints, appears to be following a similar pattern to previous years.”

“Although spending did dip last week following Black Friday weekend, trends overall appear to be on track to match or more likely surpass pre-Christmas spending in recent years. However, there are some very wide regional and sectoral disparities,” Putnam said.

Spending nationally over the last 21 days is now 8 per cent ahead of 2020 and 13 per cent ahead of 2019. This total includes spending at supermarkets and liquor stores, a significant part of preparations for Christmas.

The regional spending growth over the 21 days was highest since 2019 pre-Covid-19 levels with a 21 per cent increase in Wanganui, a 20 per cent increase in Taranaki, a 19 per cent increase in Palmerston North and Wairarapa.

Growth since 2019 was lowest in Otago with only an increase of 1 per cent, Marlborough rose by 5 per cent.

West Coast and Southland were both up by 7 per cent each.

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