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Retail Trade Survey: March 2014 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 May 2014
Commentary

All values are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated.

Total sales volume up

The total volume of retail sales rose 0.7 percent for the March 2014 quarter, following a 1.4 percent rise in the December 2013 quarter.

Ten of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter.

Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales volumes, change from December 2013 quarter.  

This quarter's increase was led by a 5.5 percent rise in electrical and electronic goods retailing.

Other industries with large rises this quarter were:

  • hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing, up 2.0 percent
  • food and beverage services, up 1.5 percent
  • motor-vehicle and parts retailing, up 0.6 percent.

The industries with the largest falls this quarter were:

  • supermarket and grocery stores, down 0.7 percent
  • furniture, floor coverings, houseware, and textiles goods retailing, down 2.4 percent.

In the core retail industries (which exclude the two vehicle-related industries) sales volume rose 0.8 percent in March, following a 1.0 percent rise in the December 2013 quarter.

Note: The fuel, and motor-vehicle and parts retailing industries are not seasonally adjusted as they do not show reliable seasonal patterns.

Total sales value rise

The total value of retail sales rose 0.7 percent ($131 million) in the March 2014 quarter, following a 1.4 percent ($253 million) rise in the December 2013 quarter. 

Ten of the 15 retail industries had higher sales values this quarter.

Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales values, change from December 2013 quarter.  

The food and beverage services industry (which includes cafes, restaurants, and bars), led the rise in total sales value, recording an increase of 2.0 percent ($38 million).

Other industries with large rises in the March quarter were: 

  • hardware, building, and garden supplies, up 2.1 percent ($30 million)
  • electrical and electronic goods retailing, up 4.3 percent ($29 million)
  • accommodation, up 3.4 percent ($24 million).

Industries with the largest falls were:

  • supermarket and grocery stores, down 0.6 percent ($27 million)
  • recreational goods retailing, down 2.5 percent ($13 million).

In the core retail industries (which exclude the two vehicle-related industries) sales value rose 0.7 percent ($102 million) in March, following a 1.3 percent ($176 million) rise in the December 2013 quarter.

Note: The fuel, and motor-vehicle and parts retailing industries are not seasonally adjusted as they do not show reliable seasonal patterns.

Trends for sales volume and value continue to rise

The trend for the total sales volume has been generally rising since the June 2009 quarter, up 16 percent since then.

The core sales volume trend has generally been rising since the March 2009 quarter, up 15 percent since then.

Graph, retail sales volumes, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.  

The trend for the total sales value has increased since the March 2009 quarter, up 22 percent since then.

The core sales value trend in general has continued to rise since the series began in 1995.

Graph, Retail sales values, quarterly.  

Sales in electrical and electronic goods lead the quarterly increase

The volume of electrical and electronic goods sales rose 5.5 percent, the largest industry increase in the March 2014 quarter. This follows a 3.7 percent rise in the December 2013 quarter.

Electrical and electronic goods prices have been falling since mid-2009. In this latest March quarter, prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) fell 2.0 percent compared with December 2013.

The sales value for electrical and electronic goods rose 4.3 percent ($29 million) in the March 2014 quarter.

Graph, Electrical and electronic goods sales volumes, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.  

The sales volume trend for electrical and electronic goods has shown a period of sustained growth for over six years. The most recent quarters are now more than double the level recorded in the December 2007 quarter. 

Growth continues for the hardware, building, and garden supplies retailers

The volume of sales in the hardware, building, and garden supplies industry rose 2.0 percent in the March 2014 quarter, following a modest 0.2 percent rise in the December 2013 quarter.

The sales value for hardware, building, and garden supplies rose 2.1 percent ($30 million). Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) fell 0.2 percent in the March 2014 quarter.

Graph, Hardware, building, and garden supplies sales volumes, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.

The sales volume trend for hardware, building, and garden supplies has risen 23 percent since the turning point in the June 2011 quarter.

Mixed results for the some of the food-related industries 

The volume of sales in the food and beverage services industry rose 1.5 percent in the March 2014 quarter, following a fall of 0.5 percent in the December 2013 quarter.

The sales volume trend for food and beverage services has generally been rising since the September 2010 quarter, up 12 percent since then. 

The value of sales for food and beverage services rose 2.0 percent ($38 million) – the largest increase of any industry for the March 2014 quarter. Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) rose 0.4 percent in March, compared with the December 2013 quarter.

This industry consists of cafes, restaurants, takeaway food and catering services, pubs, taverns, bars, and clubs. Cafes and restaurants contribute half of this industry's sales.

Graph, Food and beverage services sales volumes, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.  

Conversely, the volume of sales in the supermarket and grocery stores industry fell 0.7 percent – the largest decrease of any industry in the March 2014 quarter.

The sales value for supermarket and grocery stores fell 0.6 percent ($27 million) in the March 2014 quarter. Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) rose 1.0 percent for the March 2014 quarter.

The sales volume and value trends for supermarket and grocery stores have eased in recent quarters.

Graph, Supermarket and grocery store sales volumes, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.  

Sales up in the North and South Islands

Note: the Retail Trade Survey is designed at a national level. Use caution when interpreting regional-level figures.

The value of sales in the North Island rose 1.1 percent ($155 million) in the March 2014 quarter. This follows a 0.8 percent ($114 million) rise in the December 2013 quarter.

The increase in North Island sales value is predominantly from the Auckland region. The results are:

  • Auckland, up 2.8 percent ($177 million)
  • Wellington, virtually unchanged (up less than $1 million)
  • Waikato, down 2.2 percent ($39 million)
  • remainder of the North Island, up 0.5 percent ($17 million).

Graph, North Island sales values, quarterly, March 2008 to March 2014.  

The value of sales in the South Island rose 0.3 percent ($14 million) in the March 2014 quarter. This follows an increase of 1.4 percent ($65 million) in the December 2013 quarter.

The increase in South Island sales value is the result of:

  • Canterbury, down 0.6 percent ($15 million)
  • remainder of the South Island, up 1.4 percent ($29 million). 

Graph, South Island sales values, quarterly.

Actual volume and value sales up on March 2013

In the March 2014 quarter compared with the March 2013 quarter:

  • The volume of total actual retail sales rose 3.8 percent.
  • The value of total actual retail sales rose 3.4 percent to $18.3 billion.
  • The volume of core actual retail sales rose 3.6 percent.
  • The value of core actual retail sales rose 3.6 percent to $13.8 billion.

Actual value of stock up on 2013

Stock figures are recorded as at 31 March 2014. All references to stocks are in actual (unadjusted) dollars.

The total value of stock held at 31 March 2014 ($6.7 billion) was 4.0 percent ($258 million) higher than at 31 March 2013.

The value of stock for the core retail industries ($5.1 billion) was 2.0 percent ($102 million) higher than at 31 March 2013.

Graph, quarterly retail stock levels, March 2008 to March 2014.  

The largest stock increases were in:

  • motor-vehicle and parts retailing, up 11 percent ($154 million) 
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies, up 5.6 percent ($42 million)
  • electrical and electronic goods retailing, up 12 percent ($39 million).

The largest stock decreases were in:

  • supermarket and grocery stores, down 4.4 percent ($29 million)
  • furniture, floor coverings, houseware, and textiles goods, down 3.4 percent ($10 million).

For more detailed data from the Retail Trade Survey, see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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