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Retail sales volumes continue to fall

13 November 2008

Retail sales volumes continue to fall

The seasonally adjusted volume of total retail sales fell 0.9 percent in the September 2008 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was the third consecutive quarterly decrease, with motor vehicle retailing (down 3.1 percent) the largest single contributor to the fall in volumes in all three quarters.

Despite the drop in volumes, price increases – particularly in key industries such as supermarket and grocery stores, and automotive fuel retailing – have resulted in total sales values remaining flat in the

September 2008 quarter. With a fall of just 0.1 percent ($22 million) compared with the June 2008 quarter, sales values have remained flat throughout 2008. The volume of seasonally adjusted core retailing, which excludes the four vehicle-related industries, decreased 0.2 percent in the September 2008 quarter while sales values were up 0.4 percent ($51 million). The drop in volumes was led by supermarket and grocery stores (down 1.9 percent) but, due to price increases, this industry showed an increase in sales values (up 0.5 percent or $18 million).

The trend for total sales volumes has fallen 3.7 percent since the June 2007 quarter, making the current period of decline the most significant since the series began in September 1995. By contrast, the trend for total sales values eased in the latter half of 2007 (from strong growth at the end of 2006 / start of 2007) and has been flat throughout 2008. In the September 2008 month, seasonally adjusted total retail sales rose 0.1 percent ($8 million).

The biggest increase was in motor vehicle retailing, up 3.5 percent ($21 million). Core retailing fell 0.5 percent ($19 million), with lower sales in department stores, clothing and softgoods retailing, and recreational goods retailing. These falls were partly offset by a rise in supermarket and grocery stores sales.

  • Retail trade Survey

  • Geoff Bascand

    Government Statistician 13 November 2008


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