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Vehicles cause retail sales fall

Embargoed until 10:45am – 14 April 2008

Vehicles cause retail sales fall

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales fell 0.7 percent ($42 million) in February 2008, Statistics New Zealand said today. This fall was largely due to a 5.8 percent ($41 million) decrease in motor vehicle retailing.

Excluding the four vehicle-related industries, core retail sales rose 0.2 percent ($7 million), lifted by a 1.6 percent ($19 million) increase in supermarket and grocery store sales.

Fourteen of the 24 retail industries had lower sales in February than in January. Most industries had relatively small sales movements of less than plus or minus $3 million in February.

The total retail sales trend continues to rise steadily, buoyed by the recent strength in the automotive fuel retailing industry. The core retail trend has remained flat since April 2007.

Sales in the North Island fell 2.2 percent, as a slight increase in Wellington failed to offset relatively large decreases in Auckland, Waikato, and the Remainder of the North Island. In the South Island, sales rose 0.2 percent as a fall in Canterbury sales was offset by a rise in the Remainder of the South Island. Sales trends for all regions continue to rise.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
14 April 2008


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