New Zealand Retail Sales Volume Edges Upwards by 0.7% in Q4

February 24, 2020
New Zealand Retail Sales Volume Edges Upwards by 0.7% in Q4 February 24, 2020 Lennox Hamilton

The data published by Statistics New Zealand indicated that the total volume of retail sales in New Zealand increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% q-o-q in 4Q19. The reported figures were slightly below economists call for an increase of 0.8% and less than the trimmed up 1.7% (from 1.6%) gain in the previous quarter.

The total value of retail sales increased 1.1% (or N$268 million) q-o-q.  Nine of the 15 industries reported higher sales volumes in December 2019 quarter. Electrical and electronic goods posted the biggest growth of 4.3%, following a 4.4% increase in the September quarter and a robust 5.2% increase in June.

The second steepest rise was recorded in pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, an increase of 4.1% in the recent quarter, following a 2.8% increase in the September 2019 quarter. Department stores posted the steepest decline, a decrease of 3.8% in the latest quarter, following a 3.8% growth in the September quarter.

The second largest decline of 1.1% was recorded by supermarket and grocery stores, following a 0.9% increase in September. During the reported quarter, pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing posted the greatest rise of 3.7% (N$56 million) in the value of retail sales. In the September quarter, pharma and other retail sales posted a 2.4% (N$35 million) growth.  

Accommodation posted growth of 4.3% (N$46 million), after expanding by 0.6% (N$6.8 million) increase in the September quarter.  Department stores recorded a steep decline of 3% (N$41 million) in the recent quarter, after a 2.4% (N$32 million) rise in September.

In the quarter ended December 2019, thirteen regions reported an increase in the value of retail sales, compared with the earlier quarter. The Auckland region posted the steepest rise this quarter, an increase of 1.7% (N$152 million). With a growth of 1.9% (N$42 million), the second steepest rise was posted by Waikato region, followed by Otago, which posted a growth of 2.4% (N$32 million).

Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, and West Coast regions reported a decrease in the value of retail sales, but the decrease was below N$2 million. The value of sales in the North Island regions increased 1.3% (N$247 million) after an increase of 1.4% (N$260 million) in the September quarter.

 The total value of sales for the total South Island regions increased 1% (N$56 million) after an increase of 0.9% (N$55 million) in the September 2019 quarter.

The total stock value at the end of December 2019 was N$8.4 billion, leading to a rise of 2.6% (N$216 million) from stock owned at the end of December 31, 2018. Eleven of the 15 retail sectors posted stock increase at the end of December 2019, compared with last year.

The steepest increase was recorded in building, hardware and garden supplies, up 5.5% (N$62 million), with footwear, clothing and personal accessory recording an increase of 5.3% (N$37 million).

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