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March Quarter Retail Sales Improve


March Quarter Retail Sales Improve

Seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 1.4 percent in the March 2006 quarter, compared with the December 2005 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

This increase follows a 0.4 percent decrease in the December 2005 quarter. This quarter's increase was mainly due to a rise in sales for motor vehicle retailing (up $58 million), department stores (up $33 million) and automotive fuel retailing (up $31 million).

Sixteen of the 24 retail industries recorded sales increases in the March 2006 quarter. With price effects removed, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 1.0 percent in the March 2006 quarter.

The increase in automotive fuel retailing was price driven, with prices up 4.8 percent, while sales volumes recorded a 2.4 percent decrease.

Supermarket and grocery stores experienced lower sales volumes, recording a 0.8 percent decrease for the quarter. Motor vehicle retailing and department store sales volumes increased 3.1 and 4.4 percent respectively.

Growth in the underlying sales trend for total New Zealand has been steadily increasing since June 1998.

However, there are indications of the trend easing, with lower movements recorded since the December 2005 quarter. A contributing factor to the slowing trend is the 5.4 percent fall in the motor vehicle industry since June 2005 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted sales increased across all regions in the March 2006 quarter. All of the North Island regions apart from Auckland recorded increases over 2 percent, while the Remainder of the South Island region recorded a 1.5 percent increase for the quarter.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

END

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