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Retail Sales Indicator - March 2000 Statistics

Retail Sales Indicator: March 2000

New Zealand today released the first in a series of new early estimates of retail sales; the Retail Sales Indicator. The indicator estimates seasonally adjusted total sales for March at $3,554 million. This suggests a growth of 0.2 per cent on February's result. March sales, excluding the motor vehicle sales and servicing storetypes, were $2,534 million, a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.6 per cent on the corresponding February total.

The Retail Sales Indicator is derived from early responses to Statistics New Zealand's monthly Retail Trade Survey. For the March quarter these responses contributed 73 per cent of the published value of the indicator. Estimates of sales were imputed for firms that had not responded by 20 April, based on the sales of other similar sized retailers in a similar activity and location.

Final retail sales statistics for March including the usual detailed storetype analysis will be released on 9 May.

Retail sales are an important component of total economic activity. The Retail Sales Indicator is being released as an experimental series to allow users to assess its value as a more timely measure of this activity. Releases of the Retail Sales Indicator will generally be at 3pm on the 21st day of the month following the reference period or on the next business day should the date fall on a weekend or public holiday.

Statistics New Zealand is seeking feedback on the methodology used to produce these estimates and their value as an early indicator of retail activity. A technical document describing the methodology and reliability of the indicator is available on request, or by visiting the Statistics New Zealand website: www.stats.govt.nz.

Ian Ewing
DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN



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