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April Retail Sales Increase 2.6 Percent

Retail Trade Survey: April 2002

April Retail Sales Increase 2.6 Percent

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 2.6 percent in April 2002 compared with March 2002, according to Statistics New Zealand. Seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group (which excludes the motor vehicle retailing and services storetypes) increased 1.7 percent.

The growth this month was broad based, with 13 out of the 15 storetypes recording higher seasonally adjusted sales in April 2002 than in March 2002. The two storetypes to record decreases were accommodation, hotels and liquor; and personal and household services.

The widespread growth seen this month may be attributable to the timing of Easter. This year both Good Friday and Easter Sunday fell in March rather than in April. This meant that April 2002 had more trading days than previous April months, as stores normally close on these public holidays. The last time Easter fell in March was in 1997 so the impact that these extra trading days had on sales is difficult to quantify.

The sales trend for total retail sales has been positive since May 1998 and has been growing at an average rate of 0.6 percent a month since then.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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