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December Retail Sales Increase

Retail Trade Survey: December 2001 quarter

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 0.8 percent in December 2001, compared with November 2001 according to Statistics New Zealand. This result, combined with a flat October and an increase in November, contributed to a 2.0 percent increase for the December 2001 quarter, compared with the September 2001 quarter.

The December quarter result was driven in part by a large increase in motor vehicle retailing with seasonally adjusted sales increasing 7.9 percent, compared with the September 2001 quarter. This increase was due to a rise in the volume of sales, which were up 7.4 percent over this period. This is the largest volume rise since March 1992 when volumes also rose by 7.4 percent.

Seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group (excluding the motor vehicle services and motor vehicle retailing storetypes) increased 1.8 percent in the December 2001 quarter, compared with the September 2001 quarter. When adjusted for price changes, sales volumes rose 0.8 percent. The strong rise in the volume of sales for motor vehicle retailing and services resulted in total retail sales volumes rising by 2.1 percent for the quarter.

The trend in total retail sales continues to grow. The average growth since the June 1998 turning point is about 1.4 percent per quarter.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician

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