The decline follows a period of steady growth over the latter half of 2015.
The city’s combined retail and hospitality sales decreased 0.7 per cent in the March 2016 quarter, after seasonal fluctuations are removed, compared to the 1.1 per cent and 2.3 per cent increases in the December and September 2015 quarters respectively.
Spending at a national level, however, has increased 0.6 per cent in the March 2016 quarter.
Tehseen Islam, business indicators manager, said while retail spending alone was down in the quarter, they continue to see increases in the hospitality spending, particularly over recent quarters.
Hospitality spending was up 2.2 per cent, while retail spending fell 1.1 per cent in the quarter.
According to Statistics New Zealand, looking at the longer-term picture, the trend for combined retail and hospitality sales in Christchurch has risen 32 per cent since the June 2010 quarter (before the earthquakes began). This compares with a 25 per cent rise at the national level over the same period.
Christchurch’s total sales for the March 2016 quarter was $1.9 billion, in actual terms, which is a 3.8 per cent increase compared with the same quarter in 2015. This follows a 5.1 per cent rise in the December 2015 quarter.