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Record increase in core retail sales
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  15 February 2012

Retail Trade Survey: December 2011 quarter  –  Media Release

The volume of core retail sales had its biggest-ever increase in the December 2011 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Sales volumes for the core retail industries (which exclude vehicle-related industries) had its largest seasonally adjusted increase since this series began in 1995, rising 2.9 percent. This record increase follows another strong rise in the September 2011 quarter. When the two vehicle-related industries are included, total sales volumes rose 2.2 percent.

“Big increases in supermarket and fuel sales have boosted this quarter’s figures,” business statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. “Rugby World Cup visitors and the delayed start to the spring school holidays have probably contributed to the big sales increases we’ve seen in these two industries.”

Electrical and electronic goods retailing and department stores also recorded strong rises this quarter. “Some electronics retailers commented that smartphone sales had a positive impact, while the reopening of two large department stores in Christchurch contributed to that industry’s rise.”

Motor vehicle and parts retailing was the only industry to record a significant decrease in sales volumes, down 3.9 percent.

When the effects of price changes are included, the value of core retail sales rose 2.3 percent to $13.7 billion. The value of total retail sales rose strongly for the fourth consecutive quarter, up 2.0 percent to $17.7 billion.

In the North Island, seasonally adjusted sales values rose by a record 3.0 percent – the largest increase since this series began in 2003. All eight of the Rugby World Cup knockout games were played in the North Island during October. South Island sales values rose slightly (up 0.6 percent).

When we look at the longer term picture, the trends for both total sales volumes and values continue to rise, and have strengthened in the past few quarters.


Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
15 February 2012


For media enquiries contact:
Louise Holmes-Oliver
Christchurch 03 964 8700

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