Retail sales growth higher than forecast

27 Feb 2019

shoppingNew Zealand retail sales recorded higher growth than forecast in the December quarter, according to figures released by Stats NZ.

Newsroom reports that spending on pharmaceuticals, duty-free goods and food services were the key drivers behind the sales increase.

From a 0.3% gain in the September quarter, retail sales volumes increased by a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in the December period, surpassing the 0.5% gain forecast by economists.

Stats NZ also revealed that higher sales volumes were recorded in 11 of the 15 retail industries over the December 2018 quarter.

Sales volumes for pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing increased by 8.2%, while food and beverage services grew by 4.2%. This surge in sales volumes follows notable falls in the September 2018 quarter.

“Increased visitor numbers to New Zealand could be a factor in higher sales for both of these industries, such as sales for duty-free outlets and food service operators,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

In December 2018, more than half a million visitors arrived in New Zealand, surpassing the December 2017 record.

The seasonally adjusted value of total retail sales increased by 1.8% or $432 million in the December 2018 quarter. This follows 0.8% in the September 2018 quarter.