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Retail Sales Steady

Retail Sales Steady

Seasonally adjusted retail sales were steady in October 2001, decreasing by 0.1 per cent compared with September 2001, according to Statistics New Zealand. The core retailing group (which excludes the motor vehicle services and retailing storetypes) decreased by 0.3 per cent over the same period.

There are signs that the recent growth in the retail sales trend is easing after a 42-month period during which sales grew by 20.9 per cent.

Nine out of the 15 storetypes recorded decreases in seasonally adjusted sales this month, compared with September 2001. The largest upward contributor to the change was a $12 million increase in motor vehicle retailing. This was offset by decreases of $8 million in motor vehicle services and $6 million in food retailing.


Brian Pink
Government Statistician


Retail Trade Survey
October 2001

HIGHLIGHTS

Actual sales were $3,908 million.

Seasonally adjusted sales decreased by 0.1 percent in October 2001, compared with September 2001.

There was a 0.3 percent decrease in seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group (which excludes the motor vehicle services and retailing storetypes).

Nine out of the 15 storetypes had decreases in seasonally adjusted sales.

Commentary ...
Total sales
Seasonally adjusted retail sales for October 2001 decreased 0.1 percent, compared with September 2001. The core retailing group (which excludes the motor vehicle services and retailing storetypes) also decreased, down 0.3 percent over the same period. Nine out of the 15 storetypes recorded a decrease in seasonally adjusted sales this month, compared with September 2001.

There are signs that the recent growth in the retail sales trend is easing after a 42-month period during which sales grew by 20.9 percent.

Changes in recent periods for the trend and seasonally adjusted series should be treated with some caution. Time series analysis shows that recent estimates are subject to revision.


Storetype sales
The sales trends for eight of the 15 storetypes are on a confirmed upwards path, three are on a downwards path and four have an unconfirmed direction following this month's results. The storetypes with a trend direction yet to be confirmed are appliance retailing, hardware, personal and household services and other stores. Those with a confirmed downwards trend direction are motor vehicle services, recreational goods and department stores.

Motor vehicle services
Seasonally adjusted sales for the motor vehicle services storetype decreased by 1.4 percent in October 2001, compared with September 2001. This is the third decrease in seasonally adjusted sales in the past five months. These recent decreases have resulted in a downwards trend direction being confirmed. The trend has decreased 2.2 percent from a turning point in June 2001.

Motor vehicle retailing
Seasonally adjusted sales for the motor vehicle retailing storetype increased by 2.2 percent in October 2001, compared with September 2001. This is the second largest increase this year, following a 4.6 percent increase in June 2001. This result continues a pattern of strong trend growth that has seen the trend increase 10.5 percent from August 2000.

Regions
Seasonally adjusted retail sales for the North Island decreased by 0.4 percent in October 2001, compared with September 2001. This is due to a decrease in three of the four North Island regions. Auckland had the largest decrease (down 0.7 percent). Wellington was the exception, with retail sales increasing by 0.2 percent.

The South Island declined by 0.5 percent in October 2001, compared with September 2001. Both South Island regions recorded decreases with Canterbury down by 0.8 percent and the Remainder of the South Island down by 0.2 percent.

Revision
Actual, trend and seasonally adjusted figures for the furniture and floorcoverings storetype have been revised, following updated information received this month. The revision affects the data between August 1999 and Jan 2001, but actual data for the last six months remains unchanged.

Background
Short-term visitor arrivals were 3.1 percent lower in October 2001 than in October 2000. Short-term departures of New Zealanders were 8.3 percent below October 2000 levels.

The number of building consents authorised for new dwellings in October 2001 was 21.8 percent higher than October 2000.

New car registrations (including cars previously registered overseas) were 17.3 percent above October 2000. The value of passenger motor cars imported was 33.3 percent higher than October 2000.

The Food Price Index for October 2001 was 0.2 percent higher than for September 2001.


Measurement errors
The estimates of retail trade sales are subject to measurement errors. These include both sample errors and non-sample errors. These measurement errors should be considered when analysing the results from the survey.

Non-sampling errors
Non-sampling errors include mistakes by respondents when completing questionnaires and errors made during the processing of the data. In addition, the survey applies imputation methodologies to cope with non-respondents. Statistics New Zealand adopts procedures to minimise these types of error, but they may still occur and are not quantifiable. Data for the Retail Trade Survey (RTS) is subject to revision if significant errors are detected in subsequent months.

Sampling errors
The sample is designed to give statistics at the 95 percent confidence interval limit.
The achieved sample errors were:

October
2001 October
2000
Total Sales Level (%) 3.1 3.3

This means, for example, that there is a 95 percent chance that the true value of total sales for the October 2001 month lies within plus or minus 3.1 percent of the published estimate.

Sample Error on Sales Levels (%) Storetype October 2001 October 2000
Food Retailing 7 7
Footwear 15 13
Clothing and Softgoods 15 16
Furniture and Floorcoverings 13 12
Appliance Retailing 11 11
Hardware 10 10
Chemist 14 15
Department 0 0
Recreational Goods 15 14
Accommodation, Hotels and Liquor 10 9
Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaways 7 7
Personal and Household Services 10 9
Other Stores 15 16
Motor Vehicle Retailing 11 13
Motor Vehicle Services 9 10

Regional
Auckland 6 6
Waikato 12 12
Wellington 11 10
Remainder of North Island 9 9
Canterbury 12 12
Remainder of South Island 9 9

Sample errors tend to deteriorate over time.

Response rate
The response rate describes the number of units that have responded as a percentage of the number of units that were selected to be in the survey. The Retail Trade Survey (RTS) has a target response rate of 88 percent. The response rate for October 2001 is 89 percent. In October 2000, the response rate was 89 percent.

Non-response imputation
Values for non-responding businesses are estimated by multiplying their response in the previous period by a forward movement factor. The forward movement factor is the average movement of a set of similar businesses over the same period.

If a business does not respond in the first period, it is included in the sample and a value is estimated for it by using the average value of a set of similar units.

The table below indicates the dollar value and the percentage of each storetype's retail sales that were imputed in October 2001, compared with October 2000.

Value of Imputation
$(million) Percentage of
Storetype Sales

Storetypes October
2001 October
2000 October
2001 October
2000

Food Retailing 69.9 79.0 7.6 9.4
Footwear 0.2 0.5 1.0 2.4
Clothing and Softgoods 8.2 6.8 5.9 5.3
Furniture and Floorcoverings 11.6 9.4 10.9 10.2
Appliance Retailing 7.3 5.7 6.2 4.9
Hardware 2.3 4.1 3.0 5.8
Chemist 15.4 12.8 13.9 11.9
Department Stores 0.0 0.6 0.0 0.3
Recreational 19.1 27.6 12.1 18.8
Accommodation, Hotels and Liquor 41.9 33.8 13.4 13.4
Cafes, Restaurants and Takeaways 50.1 37.3 18.4 18.4
Personal and Household Services 17.7 20.3 16.2 20.1
Other Stores 35.2 30.2 15.9 14.3
Motor Vehicle Retailing 50.7 60.8 9.1 12.6
Motor Vehicle Services 74.5 75.6 12.9 13.2

All Stores - Total 404.1 404.4 10.3 11.1
Regions

Auckland 138.9 155.2 10.8 13.0
Waikato 50.7 34.6 13.7 10.3
Wellington 46.7 45.3 10.4 10.6
Remainder of North Island 74.8 86.1 8.9 11.0
Canterbury 45.8 39.0 8.4 7.6
Remainder of South Island 47.3 44.2 11.3 11.2


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