Retail spending slumps in February

New Zealand retail card spending in February recorded a drop in all sectors as impacted by Omicron, according to Stats NZ. 

The overall credit and debit card spending in February declined by 7.6 per cent ($640 million) month on month. Consumables, which accounts for the highest amount, saw a decrease of 5.7 per cent in spending, equivalent to $141 million compared to the month before. 

“This drop across the board was the first of its kind since last August when the country was in lockdown at alert level 4,” said Ricky Ho, business performance manager at StatsNZ. 

Meanwhile, spending in the apparel sector, including on clothing, shoes, jewellery, and watches, was down 14.4 per cent ($50 million). Spending in accommodation and restaurants contracted by $97 million (10 per cent) compared to January. 

“With the spread of Omicron in the community, people may have avoided travelling or eating out,” Ho said.

Despite the month-on-month drop, retail card spending in February, which generated $5.4 billion, was up $58 million (1.1 per cent) year on year in actual terms, Stats NZ said.

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