Card spending jumps in August

Retail card spending improved after a relatively flat five month period, rising 1.1 per cent over the month of August, to a total spend of $7.3 billion. 

Data from Stats NZ shows spending rose across five of the six retail industries when compared to the prior month.

Hardware, furniture and appliance retailing rose 1.7 per cent over the month, up $22 million, while consumables (including grocery and liquor) rose 0.8 per cent, up $16 million. 

Spending in hospitality rose 1.5 per cent, an increase of $16 million, while apparel grew 4.5 per cent ($13 million) and vehicle spending rose 4.4 per cent ($7.8 million).

The only industry that saw decreased spending was in fuel, which fell 1.4 per cent – a decrease of $8.5 million.

Source: Stats NZ

“Card spending in retail industries bounced back after a quiet period in the previous five months,” Stats NZ retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said. 

Overall sales were flat in July and June, fell 0.3 per cent in May, rose 0.3 per cent in April, and fell 0.2 per cent in March. 

August’s result is the largest jump in spending that has been seen since the start of the year, when spending rose from -2.2 per cent in December to 2.2 per cent up in January. 

Over the month of August, Kiwi cardholders made 150 million transactions across all industries, and averaged $49 per transaction. 


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