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Retail card spending up for March 2017 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  11 April 2017

Electronic Card Transactions: March 2017  –  Media Release

Retail spending using electronic cards rose in the March 2017 quarter across most retail industries, Stats NZ said today.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, spending in the retail industries rose 1.7 percent in the March 2017 quarter, after a 1.5 percent rise in the December 2016 quarter.

“The rise in retail card spending in the March quarter was driven by an increase in fuel spending,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said. 

Spending rose in five of the six retail industries in the March quarter. The largest rise came from the fuel industry, up $126 million (7.0 percent). 

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 1.2 percent in the March 2017 quarter, after a 1.0 percent rise in the December 2016 quarter.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $15.1 billion in the March 2017 quarter, up $669 million (4.6 percent) from the March 2016 quarter.

March 2017 monthly retail card spending down

When adjusted for seasonal effects, monthly retail card spending fell 0.3 percent in March 2017 compared with February 2017. This is the second month in a row that retail card spending has fallen. 

“The fall in retail card spending in the March month was driven by a decrease in fuel spending, which coincides with a price drop of fuel,” Mr. Kelly said. “However, fuel spending for the March quarter remained high.”

Spending fell in three of the six retail industries in March. The largest fall came from the fuel industry, down $12 million (1.9 percent). This fall follows a $14 million (2.2 percent) rise in February 2017. 

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) fell 0.1 percent in March 2017, after a 0.7 percent fall in February 2017.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail industries (services, and other non-retail), rose 0.5 percent in March 2017. This follows a 0.7 percent fall in February 2017.

Trends for the total, retail, and core retail series have generally been rising since these series began in October 2002.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.2 billion in March 2017, up $279 million (5.6 percent) from March 2016. 

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

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Neil Kelly, Christchurch 03 964 8957, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 11 April 2017

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