New Zealand Q4 Retail Sales Volume Advances 1.7%

(RTTNews) - Retail sales in New Zealand climbed a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent on quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday.

That surpassed expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent following the upwardly revised 0.3 percent gain in the three months prior (originally flat).

Robust spending over the December 2018 quarter led to 11 of the 15 retail industries recording higher sales volumes.

The largest increases were also record highs: pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing (up 8.2 percent), and food and beverage services (up 4.2 percent). These increases followed sizeable falls for both groups in Q3.

The pharmaceutical and other store-based industry includes all store-types not classified under the other 14 industry groups. Most sales (such as cosmetics and medicines) came from chemists, health supplement stores, duty-free stores, pet shops, and stationery goods outlets.

The largest fall in volume sales was in hardware, building, and garden supplies, down 2.1 percent, followed by department stores, down 2.6 percent in the December 2018 quarter.

By region, Auckland dominated regional growth, up 1.9 percent (NZ$169 million). The next largest increases by region came from Otago, up 3.9 percent (NZ$50 million), Wellington, up 1.8 percent (NZ$41 million), Canterbury, up 1.1 percent (NZ$32 million), and Waikato, up 1.2 percent (NZ$27 million). The only fall was from Taranaki down 0.1 percent (NZ$1 million).

By value, retail sales gained NZ$432 million or 1.8 percent on quarter.

Food and beverage services had the largest increase in sales value for the fourth quarter, up 5.0 percent (NZ$143 million), closely followed by pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, up 10 percent (NZ$142 million).

Both increases were also the largest recorded in their respective industry series, despite having large falls in the September 2018 quarter.

The next largest increases came from supermarket and grocery stores, up 1.7 percent (NZ$89 million), and accommodation, up 3.8 percent (NZ$40 million).

Hardware, building, and garden supplies had the largest decrease in the December 2018 quarter, falling 1.9 percent (NZ$42 million) after a 1.0 percent (NZ$21 million) rise in the September 2018 quarter.

By region, the value of sales in the North Island rose 1.7 percent (NZ$295 million) in Q4, after a 0.7 percent (NZ$124 million) increase in the September 2018 quarter. In the South Island, values rose 1.8 percent (NZ$101 million) following a modest 0.4 percent (NZ$22 million) fall in the third quarter.
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