Retail sales growth slows pace in third-quarter

Sales volumes rose 0.2% in the three months ended September 30, following a 2% rise in the June quarter.

New Zealand retail sales increased at a slower pace in the third quarter, as restaurant sales dropped without major sporting events and fuel prices continued to decline.

Sales volumes rose 0.2 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30, following a 2 percent rise in the June quarter, Statistics New Zealand figures show. The value of retail sales rose 0.1 percent, compared to the 1.6 percent increase in the previous quarter.

Eight of the 15 industries surveyed posted higher sales volumes in the quarter, while six reported increased values. Electronic and electrical goods sales rose 5.1 percent by volume, while prices dropped 1.4 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

The food and beverage sector, which includes cafes, restaurants, bars, takeaways, and catering services, saw a record value and volume fall in the quarter, though it had seen record gains in the earlier quarter due to the World Masters Games and the Lions rugby tour in that earlier period. Volume dropped back 3.1 percent in the quarter, while the value of sales fell 2.2 percent.

"There were strong increases from the food and beverage services and accommodation industries in June, on the back of the World Masters Games and the Lions tour," retail trade manager Sue Chapman said. "However, the reverse has occurred this quarter, with both of these industries falling."

However, supermarket and grocery sales rose 1.6 percent by value and 2 percent by volume in the quarter.

Fuel sales dropped 3.2 percent by value, after a 3.5 percent fall in the June quarter. Prices for the fuel industry fell 1.5 percent in the latest quarter and 1.8 percent in the June quarter, Stats NZ said.

This set of figures is the first to use a new methodology to use more administrative data and fewer survey data, Stats NZ said. It has also produced a back-cast series using that new methodology.