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Core Retail Sales Down, Vehicles Up

Retail Trade Survey: August 2005

14 October 2005

Core Retail Sales Down, Vehicles Up

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales increased 0.2 percent in August 2005, Statistics New Zealand said today. Sales for the core retailing group (which excludes vehicle-related industries) decreased 1.4 percent. Motor vehicle retailing and automotive fuel recorded the largest increases this month, while the hospitality industries recorded the largest decrease.

The motor vehicle industry recorded a seasonally adjusted increase of 6.7 percent in August 2005, the fourth largest increase recorded since the series began. Despite this month's seasonally adjusted increase, the underlying sales trend has slowed in the last six months, following a period of steady growth from 2002 to 2004. Seasonally adjusted sales recorded decreases in March, May and June 2005.

Seasonally adjusted automotive fuel sales increased 2.9 percent in August 2005, the sixth consecutive monthly increase. The underlying sales trend over the year to August has grown three times faster than the trend for total retail sales. Quarterly retail trade deflators show fuel retailing prices have risen every quarter since December 2003.

The hospitality industries (accommodation, bars and clubs, and cafes and restaurants) recorded a seasonally adjusted sales decrease in August 2005, returning to pre-July levels. Increases in the seasonally adjusted series for July coincided with the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand.

The underlying sales trend for the retail sector has continued to increase. On a regional basis, the Remainder of the North Island and Canterbury regions showed the strongest growth over the year ended August 2005.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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