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Vehicle Retailing Offsets Retail Sales Increase

Retail Trade Survey: December 2005 quarter

— 14 February 2006

Vehicle Retailing Offsets Core Retail Sales Increase

Seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 0.4 percent in the December 2005 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The decrease was mainly due to a large fall in sales for the motor vehicle retailing industry. Core retail sales (which excludes vehicle-related industries) rose 1.4 percent. Fourteen of the 24 retail industries recorded sales increases in the December quarter.

The sales series for the motor vehicle retailing industry showed increased volatility in the latter half of 2005, with relatively large fluctuations during August to November. The motor vehicle retailing series has a large impact on the total retail sales movement, making up more than an eighth of all retail sales.

The largest seasonally adjusted sales increases in the December 2005 quarter came from supermarkets and grocery stores, cafes and restaurants, and clothing and softgoods retailing.

The retail trade deflators show that these industries all recorded price increases during the quarter. With price effects removed, seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 0.7 percent in the December 2005 quarter.

Core retail sales rose 1.1 percent. The largest decrease in sales was recorded for motor vehicle retailing, while the largest increase came from appliance retailing. Retail trade deflators show that prices at appliance retailing outlets fell for the thirteenth consecutive quarter.

On a regional basis, seasonally adjusted sales were mixed in the December 2005 quarter. All of the North Island regional series apart from Wellington recorded decreases, while the regional series for both South Island regions recorded increases. The trend for retail sales continues to show growth, but the rate of increase has slowed during the latter half of 2005. The trend for core retail sales continues to increase steadily.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

ENDS

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