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Value of retail sales steady as volumes fall

Embargoed until 10:45am – 15 August 2008

Value of retail sales steady as volumes fall

The value of seasonally adjusted total retail sales fell 0.2 percent ($35 million) in the June 2008 quarter while sales volumes fell 1.5 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. The biggest single contributor to this quarter's result was motor vehicle retailing, where sales decreased 5.1 percent ($102 million) and sales volumes decreased 4.8 percent.

Core retailing (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) recorded no change in the value of sales.

Lower sales in supermarket and grocery stores (down 1.4 percent or $51 million), and in recreational goods retailing (down 3.2 percent or $19 million) were offset by gains in several of the smaller industries. However, core retailing sales volumes were down 0.7 percent, led by falls in supermarket and grocery stores (down 3.7 percent) and recreational goods retailing (down 3.9 percent).

The quarterly trend in the value of total retail sales has been rising since June 1998 but has flattened in recent quarters. The trend in retail volumes has been falling for the last year and in the June 2008 quarter was 2.7 percent lower than in the June 2007 quarter.

In the June 2008 month, seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 0.9 percent ($50 million). The core retailing group recorded no change in sales in June 2008. Thirteen of the 24 retail industries recorded sales increases while 11 recorded sales decreases. The trends for both total retail sales and core retail sales have been flat in recent months.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
15 August 2008



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