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NZ retail sales rise 0.8% in Dec qtr, auto sector dominates

Friday 17th February 2017

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New Zealand retail sales gained in the fourth quarter, led again by motor vehicle and parts retailing, with eleven of the 15 industries monitored seeing higher sales volumes.

The volume of retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent in the three months ended Dec. 31, from a 0.9 percent rise in the September quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The total value of retail sales, seasonally adjusted, rose 1.1 percent in the quarter to $21.08 billion.

Motor vehicle and parts retailing saw sales volumes rise 1.9 percent, while volumes in core retail - which excludes motor vehicles and fuel - rose 0.6 percent in December, outperforming September's 0.2 percent growth, the agency said.

"This is the third consecutive quarter this industry has been at the forefront of retail quarterly movements. Rises of 3.1 percent and 3.0 percent were seen in the September and June 2016 quarters, respectively. Several dealer respondents commented on having a very busy quarter – showroom upgrades, promotions, and more general customer-focused marketing resulted in higher sales," Statistics New Zealand commented. "In actual terms, New Zealand Transport Agency figures continued to show increases for registrations of passenger vehicles, up 11 percent in the December 2016 quarter from the same period in 2015."

Sales values rose for 13 of the 15 industries in the quarter, led by motor vehicle and parts retailing, which rose 2.7 percent to $4.86 billion. Pharmaceutical and other store-based retail rose 3.1 percent to $1.36 billion and accommodation rose 4 percent to $946 million, while non-store and commission-based retailing dropped 4.8 percent to $345 million.

The North Island saw sales values rise 1.2 percent to $16.1 billion in the quarter, with $7.92 billion of that in Auckland, $2.03 billion in Waikato and $2.02 billion in Wellington. Sales values rose 1.5 percent to $5 billion in the South Island. 

On an unadjusted basis, the value of retail spending rose 4.7 per cent to $22.8 billion in the December quarter compared with the same quarter in 2015.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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