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Vehicles fall overrides core retail increase

Embargoed until 10:45am – 12 December 2008

Vehicles fall overrides core retail increase

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales fell 1.3 percent ($69 million) in October 2008, Statistics New Zealand said today. This drop was dominated by the vehicle-related industries, particularly a 14.5 percent ($90 million) fall in motor vehicle retailing. The trend in motor vehicle retailing sales has fallen 19.6 percent since September 2007 and is at its lowest level since September 2001. Automotive fuel retailing was also down (2.2 percent or $14 million), consistent with lower petrol and diesel prices in October.

Core retailing, which excludes the four vehicle-related industries, rose 0.8 percent ($34 million) in October 2008, with 13 of the 20 core industries having increased sales compared with September 2008. These increases were led by appliance retailing (up 7.6 percent or $15 million), accommodation (up 5.3 percent or $12 million), and clothing and softgoods retailing (up 5.5 percent or $11 million). The largest offsetter to the rise in core retailing was supermarket and grocery stores, with a 1.2 percent ($14 million) fall.

Monthly movements in the total retail sales trend have been close to flat throughout 2008 but have been trending downwards, with October showing a 0.9 percent fall from the start of the year. The core retail sales trend has been rising continually since September 1995, but since mid-2007 has slowed to an average monthly growth of just 0.1 percent.

In October 2008, sales fell overall in the North Island and were flat in the South Island.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
12 December 2008


See also the Hot Off The Press information release Retail Trade Survey: October 2008 (PDF).


Retail Trade Survey: October 2008 highlights

For October 2008 compared with September 2008 (on a seasonally adjusted

Total retail sales fell 1.3 percent ($69 million).
Core retail sales rose 0.8 percent ($34 million).
Motor vehicle retailing sales fell 14.5 percent ($90 million).
Appliance retailing sales rose 7.6 percent ($15 million).
In 14 out of 24 industries, sales moved up or down by less than $3 million.

The total retail sales trend has dropped 0.9 percent since the beginning of

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