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Retail Sales Growth Continues

Retail Trade Survey: August 2000

Seasonally adjusted retail sales for August 2000 increased by 1.1 per cent when compared with July 2000 according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. The underlying sales trend has increased 5.8 per cent from August 1999.

Nine of the 15 storetypes recorded increases in seasonally adjusted sales this month. As in July movements were in a relatively narrow band of values, especially in the core retailing group which excludes the motor vehicle storetypes. In contrast motor vehicle services recorded a larger increase, up $15 million.

Seasonally adjusted sales for motor vehicle retailing increased by 2.0 per cent for August. Despite this positive result the underlying sales trend has declined 4.1 per cent since peaking in February 2000. For the three months ended August 2000 the quantity of new and used cars imported declined by 11.5 per cent when compared with 1999. However, the value has increased from an average of $11,709 per car for the three months ended August 1999 to an average of $12,622 per car in the three months ended August 2000.

In June 2000, the Producers Price Index reported that respondents contacted by Statistics New Zealand (including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers) expressed a reluctance to increase prices, in order to remain competitive. While some aspects of recent increases in retail sales have clearly been influenced by price increases, for example petrol price rises, Statistics New Zealand is not able at this time to quantify the comparative influence of changes in price or volume. An analysis of price and volume effects in the September 2000 quarter will be available in the next month's release.


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