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Motor vehicles pull down retail sales

Embargoed until 10:45am – 14 July 2008

Motor vehicles pull down retail sales

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales fell 1.2 percent ($69 million) in May 2008, following a 1.2 percent rise in April 2008, Statistics New Zealand said today. The decrease was led by the motor vehicle retailing industry (which has a strong influence on the total sales movement due to its large size and volatility), down 14.8 percent ($102 million). However, core retail sales (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 0.7 percent ($27 million).

Following the motor vehicle retailing fall was furniture and floor coverings, down 15.6 percent ($21 million) in May 2008 after a rise of 8.4 percent in April 2008.

Of the industries that had the largest sales increases, supermarket and grocery stores rose 3.0 percent ($35 million), followed by automotive fuel retailing, up 3.2 percent ($19 million).

Fourteen of the 24 industries had modest sales movements, not increasing or decreasing more than $3 million.

The total retail sales trend has flattened since December 2007.

Among the regions, the largest decrease in May 2008 was recorded for Canterbury, down 3.5 percent ($26 million); followed by Auckland, down 1.4 percent ($24 million); and the Waikato, down 2.8 percent ($14 million).

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
14 July 2008


There is a companion Hot Off The Press information release published – Retail Trade Survey: May 2008 [PDF].


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