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Fuel Continues to Drive Retail Sales

14 March 2005

Fuel Continues to Drive Retail Sales

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 1.3 percent in January 2005 compared with December 2004, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the largest monthly increase since June 2004, and follows a decrease of 0.3 percent in December 2004 and an increase of 0.8 percent in November 2004. Automotive fuel retailing made the largest dollar value contribution to the rise. Fourteen of the 24 retail storetypes recorded higher seasonally adjusted sales for the month.

Automotive fuel retailing was up $30 million, almost half of the total monthly increase. It was followed by supermarket and grocery stores (up $12 million). Cafes and restaurants recorded the largest monthly decrease (down $9 million). Excluding the motor vehicle-related industries, seasonally adjusted retail sales were 1.1 percent higher in January 2005 than in the previous month.

The total retail sales trend has had an average annual increase of 7.3 percent over the past six years. Continuing its steady increase since May 1998, the trend was up 0.4 percent in January 2005 from December 2004. On a regional basis, the trends for the total North Island and total South Island increased 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

The underlying sales trend for Auckland has been flat over the past five months. Total actual retail sales for January 2005 were $4,625 million, which was 4.5 percent higher than in January 2004.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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