Retail card spending remains firm in August

visa, credit card, spending, card, paymentRetail spending using electronic cards reached $4.5 billion in August 2015, up $181 million or 4.2 per cent from August 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending rose 0.5 per cent in August 2015 compared with July 2015. This rise follows a 0.4 per cent rise in July.

According to senior economist Satish Ranchhod, this is its fourth solid gain in as many months.

“Increased card spending for the core retail industries kept the overall retail sales values up this month,” business indicators senior manager, Neil Kelly, said. “In contrast, both the vehicle-related industries fell in August, with fuel having the largest fall, due to lower prices.”

Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, rose 0.9 per cent in August 2015, following a 0.6 per cent rise in July. Durables, up 1.3 per cent, had the largest increase of the four core industries.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail industries (services and other non-retail), rose a modest 0.1 per cent. This follows a one per cent rise in July 2015.

Trends for the total, retail, and core retail series have generally been rising since these series began in October 2002.

Values are only available at national level, and are not adjusted for price changes.

“Spending has remained resilient through mid-2015. This is an impressive result given that spending earlier in the year was boosted by low petrol prices and a strong tourist season associated with the Cricket World Cup and early Chinese New Year,” pointed out Ranchhod.

“While high levels of migration and strong tourist demand continue to provide support, over the coming months Westpac does expect to see some softening in spending growth.

“Consumer confidence has fallen sharply, and a likely softening in economic growth will weigh on employment and earnings growth over the coming year. In addition, the decline in the NZ dollar in recent months will push up prices for a range of imported goods, including durables and household furnishings.”

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