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Retail Sales Fall in February

Retail Sales Fall in February

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales decreased 1.6 percent in February 2004, compared with January 2004, according to Statistics New Zealand. This follows an increase of 3.0 percent in January 2004 and a decrease of 0.2 percent in December 2003. Seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group (which excludes the four motor vehicle retailing industries) decreased 1.2 percent, compared with the previous month.

Eight of the 24 retail industries recorded increases in seasonally adjusted sales in February 2004, compared with January 2004. The industries with the largest dollar value increases were accommodation (up $12 million) and hardware (up $5 million). The largest decrease occurred in other retailing, which includes watches and jewellery, garden supplies, and antiques retailing, (down $28 million). Two industries recorded relatively unchanged sales this month.

The total retail sales trend continued its steady upward movement with an increase of 0.4 percent in February 2004, compared with January 2004.

An extra trading day in February 2004 contributed to the largest monthly increase in actual total retail sales (when compared with the same month of the previous year) since January 2003. Actual sales in February 2004 were $4,224 million, 7.4 percent higher than in February 2003. The seasonally adjusted series removes the impact of the leap year and is a more reliable indicator of sales movements.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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