Kaikoura sales slide by a quarter after quake

fail-down-dollar-business-fall-decline-dropLast year’s Kaikoura earthquakes caused spending in the coastal town to fall 25 percent, Stats NZ said today.

The sales drop came as the earthquakes impacted on the town’s usual summer rush of tourists. The earthquake, which happened on 14 November, caused slips that closed many roads in the area, including State Highway 1 and the Inland Kaikoura Road – thereby isolating the town.

According to Stats NZ, retail and tourism-related sales in Kaikoura are strongly seasonal, with tourism bumping summer sales 50 percent higher than in the cooler months. However, as the earthquake struck just before the summer period it stopped the normal rush of tourists. This eliminated the usual summertime peak, and left sales 25 percent ($7 million) lower in the December 2016 quarter than in the December 2015 quarter.

Sales in the March 2017 quarter rose from the December 2016 quarter, as road access returned in mid-December (via the Inland Kaikoura Road, and later SH1 to the south). However, compared with the March 2016 quarter, March 2017 quarter sales remained 25 percent lower. While SH1 to the north remains closed, Kaikoura does not have the through-traffic that drives much of its economy. In seasonally adjusted terms, with the regular peaks and troughs removed from the series, retail and tourism-related sales in Kaikoura fell 31 percent in the December 2016 quarter when compared with the September 2016 quarter. This was followed by a 6.2 percent rise in the March 2017 quarter.

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