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Retail Sales Up Despite Department Store Downturn


Retail Trade Survey: September 2001

Upward Trend in Retail Sales Despite Department Store Downturn


Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 0.7 per cent in the September 2001 month, compared with August 2001, according to Statistics New Zealand. This result, combined with the results in the July and August months, contributed to a 1.1 per cent increase for the September quarter, compared with the June 2001 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted sales for the department stores storetype decreased 3.4 per cent in September 2001, compared with June 2001. With the effect of price changes removed, sales volumes fell 3.8 per cent. This quarter's result was due to a large decrease in the August 2001 month, when seasonally adjusted sales fell 8.5 per cent compared with July 2001. This decrease has been attributed to store closures and the easing of sales growth in the remaining stores. However, actual sales for the quarter are still 4.6 per cent higher than they were in the September 2000 quarter.

Seasonally adjusted sales for the core retailing group (excluding the motor vehicle services and retailing storetypes) increased 1.3 per cent this quarter, compared with the June 2001 quarter. When adjusted for a 1.1 per cent price rise over the quarter, sales volumes for the core retailing group increased by 0.2 per cent. This result contrasts with last quarter, when increased sales volumes dominated price increases.

Ten of the 15 storetypes recorded an increase in seasonally adjusted sales this quarter, compared with the June 2001 quarter. The food retailing storetype made the largest contribution in dollar value to the overall increase. This was followed by the motor vehicle retailing and accommodation, hotels and liquor storetypes.

This month's result continues a pattern of growth that has been evident in the past three years. The trend has increased by 21.1 per cent from May 1998.

Brian Pink Government Statistician END

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