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Retail Sales Show Slower Growth Trend Statistics

Retail Trade Survey: November 1999

November Retail Sales Show Slower Growth Trend Statistics

New Zealand's retail trade figures for November 1999 show the trend for retail sales has continued to grow although at a slower rate than during the September quarter. The sales trend has now been growing since mid-1998 at an average rate of half a per cent per month.

With seasonal variations removed, retail sales increased marginally between October and November 1999. The increase in home mortgage interest rates may have, in part, contributed to the flatter November result. Despite increasing interest rates consumer confidence is at a three year high according to the WestpacTrust McDermott Miller consumer confidence report.

Figures released recently by Statistics New Zealand show that the resident-population base has contracted. New Zealand had a net loss of 9,500 permanent and long-term migrants for the year ended November 1999, however, from a retail spending perspective this was off-set to some extent by record short-term visitor arrivals. The storetypes of accommodation, hotels and liquor; cafes, restaurants and takeaways; and other stores (includes souvenir and duty free stores) which are usually affected by short-term visitor arrivals all recorded increases in sales this month.

The underlying sales trend for all regions including the predominantly rural areas of Waikato, Remainder of the North Island, Canterbury and the Remainder of the South Island have grown since January 1999. This is consistent with reports of increased rural confidence due to improved growing conditions since the drought and increasing exports.

Ian Ewing DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END

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