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Lower Spending On Food And Beverage Dampens Retail Card Sales


12 February 2020

Retail card spending dipped in January with less spent on food and beverage (hospitality) and groceries and liquor (consumables), Stats NZ said today.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending fell 0.1 percent in January 2020, after a 0.9 percent fall in the December 2019 month.

“Retail card spending has slowed over the last couple of months on the back of a very strong November month,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

“The industries that fell this month compared with December had falls that were quite small, with values only falling by $11 million or less.”

The largest decrease came from the food and beverage industry (hospitality), down 1.0 percent ($11 million). This fall comes on the back of consistent growth in hospitality over the past 2 years.

The next largest decrease came from groceries and liquor (consumables) spending, down 0.3 percent ($7 million).

Apparel and vehicles (excluding fuel) were relatively unchanged compared with the December 2019 month.

Spending on fuel was up 1.5 percent ($9 million). This coincided with both the Wellington and Auckland anniversary weekends.

“It looks like Kiwis were spending their holidays road tripping to their favourite summer spots,” Ms Chapman said.

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) fell 0.2 percent in January 2020 after a 1.0 percent fall in December 2019.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories (services and non-retail), rose 0.3 percent. This follows a 0.6 percent drop in December 2019.

The increase is largely driven by the non-retail industries which includes industries such as medical and other healthcare, gambling, and travel agencies.

“This increase in non-retail industries is a bounce back from lower sales in November and December,” Ms Chapman said.

In actual terms, total retail spending using electronic cards was $5.9 billion, up 4.2 percent ($238 million) from January 2019.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

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