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NZ credit, debit card retail spending climbs 1.9% as hospitality recovers

Tuesday 11th October 2016

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New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards gained in September as the hospitality sector bounced back as the start of spring attracted more tourists. 

Retail spending rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent last month, turning around a 1.2 percent decline in August, with bars and restaurants benefiting from strong tourist numbers, Statistics New Zealand said. Actual retail spending climbed 6.1 percent to $4.75 billion in September from the same month a year earlier, with fuel the only sector to register a decline, reflecting cheaper petrol prices. 

Hospital spending, which spans accommodation as well as food and beverage, rose 16 percent to $885 million from a year earlier, its fourth month of double-digit growth. On a seasonally adjusted basis, hospitality spending was up 2.5 percent, turning around a decline in August. 

"The hospitality spending increase coincides with an increasing number of international visitors to New Zealand," Statistics NZ business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.

Tourism has been a boon for New Zealand's economy with record numbers of visitors spurring consumer spending. That's combined with rapid net inbound migration to boost aggregate demand in the economy, helping offset tepid growth on a per capita basis. 

Today's figures show spending on consumable items rose 5.3 percent to $1.73 billion in September from a year earlier, and was up 0.8 percent in the month, while durable items expenditure was 5.6 percent higher than a year earlier at $1.14 billion to register a 2.9 percent monthly increase. Spending on apparel rose 5.6 percent to $271 million from September 2015, with a 2 percent gain in the month. 

Spending on fuel fell 3.8 percent to $562 million from a year earlier, while spending on vehicles rose 7.4 percent to $159 million. 

The total value of electronic card spending including the two non-retail industries - non-retail excluding services and services - rose 6.3 percent to $6.39 billion from September 2015, and the number of transactions across all industries rose 7.3 percent to 130 million with an average transaction value of $49.

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