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Retail card spending falls in October

Retail spending on electronic cards fell in October following strong gains in the past four months, with spending on hardware and appliances as well as food and drinks taking a hit, according to data from Statistics NZ.

Retail spending fell 0.6 per cent last month with declines seen in four of the six retail industries.

The biggest falls in October were seen in hardware, appliances, department stores and pharmaceuticals (durables); and groceries and liquor (consumables). Durables fell $11 million (0.8 per cent) and consumables fell $11 million (0.5 per cent).

“This dip in retail spending comes after four months of higher sales,” said Sue Chapman, retail statistics manager.

“The falls in spending on longer-lasting goods and day-to-day food and liquor shows how variable these industries can be from month to month,” Chapman said.

If compared with the previous year, however, Chapman said overall card spending has been fairly steady over the last year.

Core retail spending (excluding vehicle-related industries) fell 0.6 percent in October, after a 0.4 percent rise in September.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories (services and non-retail), fell 0.2 per cent in October, following a 0.6 per cent rise in September 2019. The non-retail category includes travel, health, and wholesaling.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.8 billion, up 1.6 per cent ($89 million) from October 2018.

Values are only available at the national level and are not adjusted for price changes.

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