NZ retail spending using electronic cards rises

credit card 1Retail spending using electronic cards rose 9.3 per cent last month to $4.6 billion, led by an increase in consumables such as food and liquor.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending was up 0.7 per cent in February 2016, following a 0.4-per cent rise in January 2016.

“As 2016 is a leap year, February had one more day than last year, so this needs to be taken into account when making comparisons,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said.

Four of the six retail industries saw an increase in spending. The largest movements were in consumables, up 1.8 per cent to $32 million; hospitality, up 1.6 per cent to $13 million; and fuel, down 2.1 per cent to $12 million.

Westpac economists state the solid gains on both consumables and hospitality were likely boosted by the current very strong tourist season. There were also continued gains in spending on durables and a pick-up in apparel retailing. Lower petrol prices, which have put money back into households’ wallets, were one factor that boosted spending over February.

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 1.2 per cent in February 2016, with increases for all four core retail industries.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail industries (services, and other non-retail), was down 0.1 per cent in February. This follows a rise of 0.6 per cent in January 2016.

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

Westpac economists said they are optimistic about the outlook of spending in the year ahead.

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