Two-year run of falling retail sales finally ends

(Source: Bigstock)

New Zealand’s retail sales slightly increased in the March quarter after eight consecutive quarterly declines.

According to Stats NZ data, overall retail sales inched up by 0.5 per cent in the three months to March 31, with recreational goods leading the rise, up by 4.7 per cent, followed by accommodation up by 4.1 per cent.

Food and beverage services sales rose by 2.2 per cent and motor vehicle and parts retailing improved 1.1 per cent.

“In the March quarter we saw a modest increase in retail activity, with growth across most industries,” said Melissa McKenzie, Stats NZ business financial statistics manager.

“This followed two years of declines.”

Retail sales increased the most in Canterbury and Otago in the March quarter, which could have been influenced by more international visitors, an early Easter holiday, and special events such as SailGP and Warbirds Over Wanaka, said McKenzie.

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