NZ retailers enjoy March retail sales rebound

New Zealand retail spending in March rose by a solid 0.8%, with sales up 1.1% seasonally adjusted on February 2015, led by consumables with food and drink sales up 0.8% or $13 million.

Economists said that retail spending in March was boosted by cheaper petrol, lower fixed interest rates, stronger tourism numbers and the migration boom.

In March, petrol prices rose by 4 cents a litre initially before falling by 4 cents a litre to end the month at around $1.92 a litre. Fuel sales fell by 0.4% in March.

While petrol prices rose 16 cents a litre in February, petrol prices are well under levels experience in mid-2014, which gave NZ consumers a disposal income boost.

Retail spending using electronic cards was $4.7 billion in March 2015, up $167 million (3.7%) from March 2014, Statistics New Zealand said.

In actual terms, card spending rose in all retail industries except for fuel.

New Dairy deli at New World, Devonport (Auckland NZ) Courtesy FMCG Business
New Dairy deli at New World, Devonport (Auckland NZ) Courtesy FMCG Business

“After removing seasonal effects, spending rose in four of the six retail industries,” business indicators manager Neil Kelly said. “The largest increase came from the consumables industry.”

Hospitality industry spending was up 11% for the past 12 months, reflecting high consumer confidence and helped by high foreign tourist arrivals in the first few months of 2015.

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 0.8% in March 2015, following a 1.2% rise in February 2015.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail industries (services and other non-retail), rose 1.3%, following a 0.4% rise in February 2015.


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