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Retail Sales First Estimate - April 2000

Data Flash (New Zealand)
Retail Sales First Estimate - April 2000

Key points

Total retail sales are estimated to have risen 0.2% mom in April. Sales were 6.1% higher than a year earlier. Growth in April was held back by a fall in motor vehicle sales and services. Once these storetypes are excluded, retail sales increased by a surprisingly robust 0.8% mom and by 5.2% yoy.

Commentary

The provisional rise in sales appears a slightly more positive result than had been suggested by some spending indicators. Our expectation had been for a fall in total sales of around 0.5%-1.0%. However, the first estimate is subject to revision. Statistics NZ suggest that the final estimate of growth - due 2 June - could differ from that published earlier by up to +/- 0.5 percentage points.

Taking the April estimate at face value and allowing for inflation, growth in real consumer spending appears relatively sluggish. We expect a sharp decline in construction activity over coming months. This will have a negative impact on spending on durable goods in particular.

Darren Gibbs, Senior Economist

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