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Retail Sales Flat In January

Retail Trade Survey: January 2001

Seasonally adjusted retail sales declined by 0.3 per cent in January 2001, according to Statistics New Zealand. This is a decline of $13 million compared to December 2000. However, when the motor vehicle services storetype (67 per cent of which comprises automotive fuel sales) and the motor vehicle retailing storetype are excluded, seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group were the same as in December 2000.

The underlying sales trend, which has been positive since October 1997, appears to be flattening. In the six months to January 2001 the trend increased 1.6 per cent. This compares to a 3.3 per cent increase over the previous six months.

A $9 million decline in seasonally adjusted sales for the motor vehicle services storetype made the most significant downward contribution to the overall sales decline. The underlying sales trend for this storetype has declined 1.9 per cent since October 2000, following positive growth from August 1998 to September 2000.

Other storetypes to make key contributions to the decline in seasonally adjusted sales in January 2001 were clothing and softgoods and the other stores storetype. The most sizeable upward movements in seasonally adjusted sales in January 2001 were for the cafes, restaurants and takeaways storetype and the recreational goods storetype.

Statistics New Zealand will no longer publish the Retail Sales Indicator as an early estimate of the monthly change in retail sales. Experience over the past eight months has shown the variability in the estimate was too great for use in forecasting and monitoring economic activity.

Brian Pink GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

END


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