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Fuel boosts retail sales

Embargoed until 10:45am – 15 February 2008

Fuel boosts retail sales

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales rose 1.9 percent in the December 2007 quarter compared with the September 2007 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. Sales for the core retailing industries (which exclude vehicle-related sales) rose 0.4 percent.

The major contributor to this quarter's increase was automotive fuel retailing, with seasonally adjusted sales up 15.1 percent or $229 million. During the December quarter, prices for the automotive fuel industry were at their highest since mid-2006. Seasonally adjusted sales volumes in the automotive fuel retailing industry rose 3.0 percent or $27 million.

Twelve other industries had sales increases this quarter, the largest was in clothing and softgoods retailing, up 5.1 percent or $32 million. Eleven industries had sales decreases, the largest was in furniture and floor coverings retailing, down 2.5 percent or $10 million.

Seasonally adjusted total sales volumes rose 0.3 percent in the December 2007 quarter compared with the September 2007 quarter. Volumes in the core retailing industries rose less than 0.1 percent. The largest increase in sales volumes was in clothing and softgoods retailing, up 5.0 percent or $29 million.

Regionally, seasonally adjusted retail sales increased in all regions in the December 2007 quarter. In Auckland and Waikato, this quarter's increase followed two quarters of decreased sales.

The quarterly trend in total sales has been rising since the June 1998 quarter.

In the December 2007 month, seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 0.1 percent compared with November 2007. Core retailing sales rose 0.3 percent. Of the 24 retail industries, 13 had sales increases, the biggest were in automotive fuel retailing and department stores retailing.

The monthly trend in total retail sales has been rising since May 1998.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
15 February 2008


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