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Retail sales fall in October

Tuesday 14th December 2010

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Consumers stood on the brakes in October, after a wary increase in September ahead of the rise in GST.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 2.5% in October, more than reversing September's 1.7% gain, with a whopping 12.6% or $85 million fall in sales of vehicle and parts, Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures show.

The October fall in total retail sales was the largest in percentage terms since May 1997 and, at $137m, the largest recorded value fall since the series started in May 1995.

Core retail sales, which exclude the motor vehicle-related industries, fell a seasonally adjusted 1.6% in October from September, when it had lifted 1.7%.

"It was noticeable that the industries that sell big-ticket items recorded increased sales in September, but had the largest decreases in October," SNZ business statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said.

Of the 15 industries covered, 10 had falls, with the largest being the 12.6% slide in vehicles and parts, while furniture, floor coverings, houseware, and textiles were down 27.8%, and electrical and electronic goods fell 15.2%.

The fall in vehicles and parts was the largest in the category for five years, and followed a 3.6% or $23m rise in September.

The largest increase was in supermarket and grocery stores, up 4.2%. All the food and drink related industries recorded increases, SNZ said.

Fuel sales rose 3.7% in October, with the increase likely to be partly reflecting a 3c a litre rise in fuel excise duty at the start of the month.

In actual terms, total retail sales rose 0.6% or $30m in October from a year earlier, while core retail sales were up 0.8% or $35m.



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