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Retail Trade Survey: March 2015 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 May 2015
Commentary

All values are seasonally adjusted, with comparisons against the previous quarter, unless otherwise stated.

Total sales volume rises

The total volume of retail sales rose 2.7 percent for the March 2015 quarter, following a 1.9 percent rise in the December 2014 quarter.

This is the largest rise in total retail sales volume since this series began in September 2003.

All 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter, with electrical and electronic goods retailing having the largest rise (up 8.9 percent). This is the first time that all industries have had rises in the same quarter since the December 2006 quarter.

Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales volumes, change from December 2014 quarter.

Other industries with large rises in the March 2015 quarter were:

  • fuel retailing, up 3.5 percent
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing, up 3.9 percent
  • supermarket and grocery stores, up 1.2 percent.

In core retail (which excludes the two vehicle-related industries) the sales volume rose 2.9 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 1.9 percent rise in the December 2014 quarter.

Total sales value up

The total value of retail sales rose 1.7 percent ($329 million) in the March 2015 quarter, following a 1.4 percent ($261 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

The latest quarter's increase is the largest sales value rise since the September 2011 quarter, when sales rose 2.3 percent ($381 million).

Thirteen of the 15 retail industries had higher sales values in the latest quarter.

Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales values, change from December 2014 quarter.

Supermarket and grocery stores led this quarter's rise in the total sales value, with a 2.7 percent ($115 million) increase.

Other industries with large rises in the March 2015 quarter were:

  • hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing, up 3.6 percent ($55 million)
  • accommodation, up 6.9 percent ($54 million)
  • electrical and electronic goods retailing, up 6.5 percent ($45 million).

Fuel retailing, down 5.7 percent ($109 million), due to lower prices, had the only notable decrease.

In core retail (which excludes the two vehicle-related industries) the sales value rose 3.0 percent ($443 million) in the March 2015 quarter, following a 2.0 percent ($283 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

Sales volume and value trends still rising

The trends for both the total sales volume, and core sales volume (which excludes the two vehicle-related industries) have generally been rising since the March 2009 quarter. The total sales volume trend has risen 25 percent since the first quarter of 2009, while the core sales volume trend has risen 24 percent.

Graph, Retail sales volumes, quarterly, March 2009 to March 2015.

The trend for the total sales value has increased 28 percent since the March 2009 quarter.

The core sales value trend (which excludes the two vehicle-related industries) has increased 27 percent since the December 2007 quarter.

Graph, Retail sales values, quarterly, March 2009 to March 2015.

Electrical and electronic goods retailing surges

The volume of sales in electrical and electronic goods retailing rose 8.9 percent in the March 2015 quarter, after a 5.0 percent rise in the December 2014 quarter. Some respondents have commented that increased sales of laptops and tablets for school use have boosted sales in this quarter.

The value of sales in electrical and electronic goods retailing rose 6.5 percent ($45 million) in the March 2015 quarter, after a 1.5 percent ($10 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) fell 2.0 percent in the March 2015 quarter. This follows a 4.4 percent fall in prices in the December 2014 quarter. 

Graph, Electrical and electronic goods sales volumes, quarterly, March 2009 to March 2015.

The sales volume trend for the electrical and electronic goods retailing industry has been rising for several years, but has had particularly large gains in recent quarters.

Fuel sales volume up, prices down

The volume of sales in the fuel retailing industry rose 3.5 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 1.0 percent rise in the December 2014 quarter.

Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) decreased 9.4 percent for the fuel retailing industry in the March 2015 quarter. This followed a 6.0 percent decrease in prices in the December 2014 quarter.

The value of sales in this industry fell 5.7 percent ($109 million) for the March 2015 quarter.

Graph, Fuel sales volumes, quarterly, March 2009 to March 2015.

The sales volume trend for the fuel retailing industry has risen over the last year, after easing in 2013. The trend is up 7.6 percent since the December 2013 quarter.

Hardware sales continue to rise

The volume of sales in the hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing industry rose 3.9 percent in the March 2015 quarter. This follows a 2.9 percent rise in the December 2014 quarter.

The value of sales in the hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing industry rose 3.6 percent ($55 million) in the March 2015 quarter. This follows a 2.7 percent ($40 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

Prices (which are not seasonally adjusted) fell 0.6 percent in the March 2015 quarter.

Graph, Hardware, building, and garden supplies sales volumes, quarterly, March 2009 to March 2015.

The sales volume trend for hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing industry has been rising over the last three years, following a flattish period through 2010 and 2011.

Sales up in both 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 2.3 percent ($324 million) in the March 2015 quarter. This follows a 1.3 percent ($184 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

The increase in the North Island sales value resulted from:

  • Auckland, up 2.0 percent ($138 million)
  • Waikato, up 3.4 percent ($62 million)
  • Wellington, up 2.9 percent ($55 million)
  • remainder of the North Island, up 1.9 percent ($70 million).

The value of sales in the South Island rose 1.3 percent ($64 million) in the March 2015 quarter. This follows a 1.5 percent ($72 million) rise in the December 2014 quarter.

The increase in the South Island sales value resulted from:

  • Canterbury, up 1.9 percent ($53 million)
  • remainder of the South Island, up 0.5 percent ($11 million).

Actual sales volume and value up on 2014

In the March 2015 quarter, compared with the March 2014 quarter:

  • the volume of total actual retail sales rose 7.4 percent
  • the value of total actual retail sales rose 5.1 percent (to $19.3 billion)
  • the volume of core actual retail sales rose 7.5 percent
  • the value of core actual retail sales rose 7.2 percent (to $14.8 billion).

Actual stock values up on 2014

Stock figures are recorded at 31 March 2015. All references to stocks are in actual dollars.

The total value of stock held at 31 March 2015 ($7.0 billion) was 4.3 percent ($292 million) higher than at 31 March 2014.

The value of stock for the core retail industries ($5.3 billion) was 4.6 percent ($233 million) higher than at 31 March 2014.

Graph, Quarterly retail stock levels, March 2009 to March 2015.

 

Fourteen of the 15 retail industries recorded stock increases in the March 2015 quarter compared with the March 2014 quarter. The largest were in:

  • motor-vehicle and parts retailing, up 4.1 percent ($63 million)
  • department stores, up 6.5 percent ($51 million)
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies retailing, up 5.9 percent ($47 million).

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

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