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NZ retail spending on credit, debit cards climbs 1 percent in April, biggest monthly gain since November

Friday 10th May 2013

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New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards reported its biggest monthly gain since November last month, with ramped up expenditure on apparel and durable goods.

Core retail spending, which strips out spending on fuel and vehicles, climbed 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $3.54 billion in April, the biggest monthly gain since November, and sixth increase out of the past seven months, according to Statistics New Zealand. Including fuel and vehicle, retail spending gained 0.9 percent to $4.34 billion in April, the 11th monthly gain in the past 12.

"This is a turnaround from March, when most retail industries had falls," said Blair Cardno, industry and labour statistics manager. "Good Friday and Easter Sunday were in March this year, instead of April. This meant that there were two more trading days than during a typical April month."

New Zealand consumers have been more willing to go back to the stores with retailers marking down more stock to get people through the door. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey showed sentiment was ahead of the historical average in April, with a growing number of people happy to buy big ticket items.

Spending on durable goods, which includes furniture, hardware and appliance retailing, rose 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $1.07 billion last month, while apparel climbed 7.2 percent to $284 million. Spending at bars and restaurants gained 1 percent to $654 million, with consumables the only core retail sector to fall, down 1.7 percent to $1.51 billion.

Card spending on fuel dropped 2.4 percent to $669 million, while vehicle expenditure gained 0.9 percent to $119 million. Spending on services rose 1.4 percent to $182 million, and on non-retail industries excluding services climbed 4.3 percent to $1.24 billion. Total spending on electronic cards rose 1.1 percent to $5.74 billion last month.

Unadjusted spending on electronic cards climbed 6.3 percent to $5.57 billion in April from the same month a year earlier.

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