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Big quarterly lift in retail card spending - Stats NZ

Quarterly retail card spending in the September 2018 quarter rose at its fastest pace in seven and a half years, Stats NZ said today.

The lift was widespread, led by increased grocery and liquor spending, as well as fuel.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail card spending was up 2.3 percent in the September 2018 quarter, the largest percentage rise since the December 2010 quarter.

“The September quarter’s strong rise came after a slight dip in the June 2018 quarter,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

Spending rose in all six retail industries in the latest quarter. The largest rise came from the consumables industry (grocery and liquor retailing), up $140 million (2.4 percent). This follows a 0.6 percent fall in the June 2018 quarter. The second largest rise came from the fuel industry, up $65 million (3.4 percent). This follows a 0.3 percent fall in the June 2018 quarter.

“The fuel industry rise coincided with rising petrol prices,” Ms Chapman said.

“Petrol prices rose to record levels, up more than 15 cents a litre by the end of September and more in Auckland after the regional fuel tax was introduced.”

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 2.1 percent in the September 2018 quarter, after a 0.3 percent fall in the June 2018 quarter.

In actual terms, retail card spending was $16 billion in the September quarter, up $773 million (5.2 percent) from the September 2017 quarter.

Values are only available at the national level and are not adjusted for price changes.

Monthly spending up in September

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail card spending rose 1.1 percent in the September 2018 month.

“This was the second month in a row where we saw an increase of over 1.0 percent, and retail card spending was up across the board,” Ms Chapman said.

Spending rose across all six retail industries. The largest rise was from the consumables industry (groceries and liquor retailing), up $20 million (1.0 percent). The second largest rise was the durables industry, which includes hardware, furniture, and appliances, up $9.9 million (0.8 percent).

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 1.1 percent in September 2018, after a 0.9 percent rise in August 2018.

Actual retail spending using electronic cards was $5.2 billion in September 2018, up $280 million (5.7 percent) from September 2017.

Values are only available at the national level and are not adjusted for price changes.

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