Retail sales rise

shopping, shopper, bags, retail, generalRetail spending continued to rise in the December 2014 quarter, driven by the motor vehicle industry, Statistics New Zealand said today.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the volume of total retail trade sales rose 1.7 per cent in the December 2014 quarter, after rising 1.6 per cent in the September quarter. The last time the sales volume rose more than 1.7 per cent was in the June 2012 quarter, when sales rose 1.9 per cent.

“The motor vehicle industry drove this quarter’s increase, having the largest rises in both the sales volume and value,” acting business indicators manager, Tehseen Islam, said.

Twelve of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes. The largest industry movements were:

– motor vehicle and parts retailing, up 3.4 per cent
– food and beverage services, up three per cent
– supermarket and grocery stores, down 1.2 per cent.

The volume of sales in core retail, which excludes the vehicle related industries, rose 1.5 per cent.

When the effect of price changes is included, the total value of retail sales rose 1.6 per cent or $302 million, with sales rising in 10 of the 15 retail industries. This is also the largest total value increase since the June 2012 quarter, when sales rose 1.8 per cent, or $306 million.

For core retail, which excludes the vehicle related industries, the sales value rose 1.6 per cent or $228 million.

Looking at the longer term picture, the trends for both total retail sales volumes, and values, have generally been rising since mid-2009.

In actual terms, the value of total retail sales was $20.9 billion in the December 2014 quarter, up 4.7 per cent compared with the December 2013 quarter. This is the first time the total sales value was over the $20 billion level.

Retail NZ CEO, Mark Johnston, said Christmas is the busiest trading period of the year and is hugely important for retailers.

“It’s fantastic to see that hard work is paying off in most sectors,” Johnston said. “Local retailers should feel encouraged, the results show that New Zealanders value the excellent customer service and quality products they offer. It also shows local retailers are adapting to the growth in online retailing.

“It looks like investments in new digital channels and e-commerce platforms are starting to pay off for the growing number of local retailers trading online. New Zealand business are moving with the times, innovating and adapting to deliver the best possible customer experience across multiple sales channels,” he said.

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