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Spending slips in October

Retail card spending fell 0.6 percent in October 2019, with less spent on long-lasting goods such as hardware and appliances, as well as a dip in day-to-day spending on food and drinks, Stats NZ said today.

"This dip in retail spending comes after four months of higher sales," retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

Spending fell across four of the six retail industries. The biggest falls in October were seen for hardware, appliances, department stores, and pharmaceuticals (durables); and groceries and liquor (consumables). Durables fell $11 million (0.8 percent) and consumables fell $11 million (0.5 percent).

“The falls in spending on longer-lasting goods and day-to-day food and liquor shows how variable these industries can be from month to month. However, compared with the year before, overall card spending has been fairly steady over the last year,” Ms Chapman said.

Core retail spending (excluding vehicle-related industries) fell 0.6 percent in October, after a 0.4 percent rise in September.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories (services and non-retail), fell 0.2 percent in October, following a 0.6 percent rise in September 2019. The non-retail category includes travel, health, and wholesaling.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.8 billion, up 1.6 percent ($89 million) from October 2018.

Values are only available at the national level and are not adjusted for price changes.


We have improved our data with additional source information and have revised monthly card transaction data back to January 2017. See Electronic card transactions: October 2019 for more information.

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