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December Quarter Retail Sales Up 1.5 Percent

December Quarter Retail Sales Up 1.5 Percent

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 1.5 percent in the December 2003 quarter, compared with the September 2003 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. On a monthly basis, seasonally adjusted total retail sales decreased 0.2 percent in December 2003, compared with November 2003. Excluding motor vehicle related industries, seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 0.2 percent over the same period.

Sixteen of the 24 retail industries recorded higher seasonally adjusted sales, compared with the September 2003 quarter. The largest dollar value increases occurred in supermarket and grocery stores and automotive fuel retailing, up $183 million and $47 million, respectively. Other retailing, which includes watch and jewellery, garden supplies, and antiques retailing, recorded the largest decrease, down $35 million.

The volume of seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 1.2 percent in the December 2003 quarter, compared with the September 2003 quarter. This follows increases of 2.2 percent in the September 2003 quarter and 1.7 percent in the June 2003 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted sales for the total North Island increased 1.5 percent in the December 2003 quarter, compared with the September 2003 quarter, and over the same period the total South Island seasonally adjusted sales decreased 0.3 percent.

Total actual retail sales for the December 2003 quarter were $14,180 million, 5.4 percent higher than in the December 2002 quarter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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