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NZ spending on credit, debit cards falls in September, led by grocery

Thursday 9th October 2014

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New Zealanders decreased spending on their credit and debit cards in September, as a drop in consumable and apparel spending offset gains in hospitality and durables.

The value of core retail sales on electronic cards, which strips out spending on fuel and vehicle related items, fell 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted $3.77 billion in September from August when it rose 0.6 percent, Statistics New Zealand said. Including fuel and vehicle spending, total retail slipped 0.1 percent to $4.67 billion.

Credit and debit card spending on consumables, the largest measure in the series which includes goods such as groceries and liquor, fell 0.4 percent to $1.63 billion, while spending on apparel declined 0.5 percent to $287 million. Spending on durables rose 0.3 percent to $1.11 billion, and hospitality spending increased 0.3 percent to $746 million.

Today's figures come after business sentiment declined in the September quarter, as the positive outlook seen earlier in the year wasn't backed up by similarly strong actual economic activity, according to the latest Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. In particular, confidence wasn't translating into sales, the report said.

On an unadjusted basis, core retail transactions rose 5.9 percent to $3.52 billion from September 2013, with hospitality producing the biggest increase, up 8.8 percent to $695 million. Spending on consumables advanced 4.9 percent to $1.55 billion, durables rose 5.9 percent to $1.01 billion and apparel gained 4.1 percent to $249 million. Total retail sales rose 5.4 percent to $4.38 billion, while all spending, including services and non-retail industries, was up 5.5 percent to $5.83 billion.

The number of core retail transactions rose 7.5 percent to 85 million in September from the same month a year earlier, and was up 6.5 percent across all industries at 115 million. The average value per transaction was $50 in the month.

Spending on debit cards made up 55.4 percent of the total, down from 56.4 percent in August.


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