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TVNZ: put story in perspective or pull it

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Sunday 21 September 2008


TVNZ encouraged to put story in perspective or pull it

Auckland’s leading retail district is urging TVNZ’s One News not to over dramatise its Special Report on the “retail recession” due to go to air 6pm tomorrow night.

“The language used in the TVNZ’s advertising over the weekend is quite inflammatory and frankly unhelpful. We just hope their actual report is balanced and keeps the situation in perspective. The last thing we want is the country’s biggest television network over hyping the situation. It could be good for their ratings but it would be economically irresponsible,” said Cameron Brewer, head of the Newmarket Business Association.

Mr Brewer says that it is important to remember that retail is coming off a very high base and an unprecedented decade of growth.

“Statistics New Zealand’s latest retail report released just 10 days ago makes it very clear that total retail sales continuously rose between June 1998 and the end of 2007, with an average annual rise of six percent during that time. Since then officials describe the trend as “flat”. However lets not forget that since December 2007, core retail sales trends, which excludes the four vehicle-related industries, has actually been increasing on a monthly average, albeit slightly.

“Sure the total March and June quarterly figures were down. However it’s the fall in the likes of big ticket motor vehicle sales and big volume supermarket sales that are dragging down the overall result. In fact the latest figures released showed that in July clothing and softgoods retailing was up 9 percent and department stores up 5.9 percent on the previous month.”

“Let’s not forget that in early 2003 New Zealand retail sales were worth $4 billion per month. Today monthly retail sales are worth nearly $5.5 billion. The retail sector has experienced enormous growth over the past 10 years. We must remind ourselves that Statistics New Zealand’s official line on the overall state of retail released only on 12 September is that “since December the trend has been flat”. What’s more any movement across the majority of the 24 retail industries over the past few months has been modest. No overly major or dramatic troughs have yet to be seen.

“I’m certainly not saying that retailers aren’t hurting, many are. However I encourage TVNZ to keep things in perspective. The volume of retail sales are still up on previous years. If TVNZ know their special report fails to achieve such perspective, then I urge then to pull it or re-script it because any other line could be damaging to the country’s retail sector as consumer confidence could be impacted,”said Mr Brewer.


ENDS

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