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Retail sales growth continues

Retail Trade Survey: June 2000 quarter

Retail sales increased by 1 per cent in the June 2000 quarter according to figures released by Statistics New Zealand. Growth in the underlying sales trend has continued but eased in the first half of 2000, after a strong increase in the latter half of 1999.

Major contributions to the result this quarter came from food retailing and motor vehicle services, with a decline in sales of motor vehicles partially off-setting the increase. Increases in the core retailing group, excluding motor vehicle storetypes, provided about 90 per cent of the growth in the June quarter. In contrast, this group provided only 16 per cent of the growth in the March quarter.

When the June quarter price rise of 0.6 per cent is removed, the volume of retail sales rose by 0.4 per cent. Not surprisingly, as a result of petrol price increases motor vehicle services had the largest price increase this quarter. Notwithstanding the price rise, the volume of sales in this storetype also increased over the same period.

Despite increased sales in the month of May, motor vehicle retailing in the June quarter declined by 3.6 per cent, with seasonal variations removed. This reflects a fall in both price and volume. The number of passenger vehicles imported has been falling since the September 1999 quarter. However, stock levels held by motor vehicle retailers remain high, 10.8 per cent above the same time a year ago.

Ian Ewing

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