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Appliance wars and lattes keep retail sales rising in December quarter

Friday 12th February 2010

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Retail sales continued to show gradual recovery in the three months to December 31, led by fierce competition among appliance retailers and the largest recorded jump in restaurant and café sales suggesting wallets are opening again for small luxuries. 

However, growth was far from stellar, with 1.0% increases recorded by both volume and value of total retail sales for the quarter, the third in a row after six quarters of decline. 

Statistics New Zealand released the seasonally adjusted December quarter retail trade figures this morning, showing core retail sales, i.e., excluding automotive sector costs including fuel, rose 0.6 percent by value to $77 million, compared to the same period last year. 

Heated competition in appliance retailing gave that sector the largest volume growth in sales, but only 1% growth in value, implying falling prices, Statistics NZ said.

Cafes and restaurants had the second-biggest volume rise, up 5.6%, and a 6.3% rise in sales value. 

"This increase in café and restaurant sales is the largest since the beginning of the series" in 1995.

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