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December Sales Boost Quarter

Retail Trade Survey: December 2000

December Sales Boost Quarter

Seasonally adjusted sales for December 2000 were $3,719 million, an increase of 1.0 per cent compared with the previous month, according to Statistics New Zealand. The December result boosted the quarter as it followed virtually flat October and November months. Seasonally adjusted sales for the December 2000 quarter were $11,041 million, an increase of 0.9 per cent when compared with the September 2000 quarter.

When the effects of inflation are removed, seasonally adjusted sales fell by 0.5 per cent, suggesting that price changes were more significant than sales volume during the December 2000 quarter. This is the first decline in volume since the March 1998 quarter. The largest contributors to this quarter's overall fall in retail sales volume were the furniture and floor coverings; motor vehicle services; and appliance retailing storetypes. Increases in volume in the cafes, restaurants and takeaways; and food retailing storetypes partially offset the fall. The underlying sales trend has gained 5.0 per cent since the December 1999 quarter, but this gain is reduced to 0.3 per cent when adjusted for inflation. This is the lowest annual increase in the inflation-adjusted trend series for a December year since a decline in 1991.

A large 2.0 per cent fall in seasonally adjusted volume was evident in the motor vehicle services storetype this quarter. While there have been small falls in seasonally adjusted volume over the past year, this is the largest since the December 1996 quarter. The underlying sales trend has increased 27.6 per cent since the December 1998 quarter, following a flat period between December 1996 and 1998. When the effects of inflation are taken into account, the trend has increased by 3.4 per cent over the same period.

Eleven of the 15 storetypes had increases in seasonally adjusted sales this month, compared to November 2000. The largest increase was in motor vehicle retailing ($16 million), followed by clothing and softgoods ($11 million) and food retailing ($10 million). The largest decrease was reported in the motor vehicle services storetype ($11 million).

Brian Pink GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END

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