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NZ electronic card spending rebounds in March

NZ electronic card spending rebounds in March as consumers spend up on groceries, liquor

By Rebecca Howard

April 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards rebounded in March on the back of increased grocery and liquor spending.

Seasonally adjusted total retail spending on credit and debit cards increased 1 percent in March, Statistics New Zealand. Economists had expected a lift of 0.5 percent, according to a Bloomberg poll. Core retail spending, excluding fuel and vehicles, rose 1.6 percent.

“Despite losing a trading day to Good Friday, retail card spending rose in March,” retail manager Sue Chapman said. “The rise was driven by an increase in spending on grocery and liquor retailing, rebounding from a fall in the previous month.” Chapman said spending may have been lower in February due to two large storms that hit several parts of the country.

Consumables spending, which covers grocery and liquor retailing, rose 2.9 percent in March. Spending on durables - which includes hardware, furniture and appliances - lifted 1.2 percent on the month while hospitality rose 1.4 percent in March versus February. Apparel spending, however, fell 1.1 percent on the month. Spending on vehicles fell 1.8 percent and spending on fuel fell 0.5 percent.

Today's figures show actual total retail spending climbed rose 6.0 percent in March to $5.5 billion.

Card-holders across all industries made 151 million transactions in the month, down from 134 million in February. The average value of $49 was unchanged on the year and down from $50 in February.

"Election-related uncertainty looks to be well behind us, with consumers voting with their wallets. We remain constructive on the outlook for consumer spending over 2018 and beyond," said ASB senior economist Mark Smith.



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