Card spending rises in April

Retail spending on electronic cards rose in April as Kiwis took advantage of the extended holiday period to eat out and take holidays away from home.

Card spending in April rose 0.6 per cent seasonally adjusted after a 0.2 per cent decrease in March, according to data from Statistics NZ.

The increase in credit and debit card spending in April coincided with the timing of Easter and the school holidays.

“Many employees took three days off to get a 10-day holiday over the Easter and Anzac Day period,” said Sue Chapman, retail statistics manager.

According to Statistics NZ, retail sales increased despite the reduced trading hours in April.

In April, spending on eating out and staying away from home (hospitality) rose $6.3 million (0.6 percent) on March, and spending on groceries (consumables) rose $10 million (0.5 percent).

Apparel sales rose 1.8 per cent in April after falling 2.9 per cent in March. Fuel was up $17 million (2.8 per cent), and durables, up $17 million (1.3 per cent), also drove the increase in retail spending.

Chapman said the increase in fuel spending was due to climbing fuel prices.

“Fuel prices increased for the fourth consecutive month, after falling late last year,” she said.

The retail durables industry, which includes furniture, hardware, appliances, and pharmaceutical retailing, bounced back after a 1.7 per cent decrease in March.

Core retail spending, excluding fuel and vehicle spending, saw a 0.5 per cent lift following a 0.3 decline in March.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories (services and non-retail), saw a 0.4 per cent increase in April, following a 0.1 per cent fall in March.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.3 billion, up $232 million (4.5 per cent) from April 2018.


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