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Retail card spending falls 2.2 percent in April 2018

Retail card spending fell 2.2 percent in April 2018, following a rise in March 2018, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said. Large falls in grocery and liquor retailing and in fuel retailing contributed to April 2018’s decrease.

“The fall in retail card spending is unusually large. It was driven by a drop in sales of groceries and liquor, as well as an unexpected dip in fuel,” business performance senior manager Peter Dolan said. “The drop in fuel sales was unexpected because petrol prices rose as much as 9 cents a litre during the April 2018 month.”

While these figures represent most retail spending, they do not cover all transactions in New Zealand, such as cash.

Card spending fell across three of the six retail industries. The largest movements were:

  • Consumables, including grocery and liquor retailing, down $72 million (3.6 percent) – more than reversing a $60 million rise in March (up 3.1 percent)
  • Fuel, down $17 million (2.9 percent)
  • Hospitality, down $9.0 million (0.9 percent).

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) fell 2.3 percent in April 2018, after a rise of 2.0 percent in March 2018.

Actual retail spending using electronic cards was $5.1 billion in April 2018, up $39 million (0.8 percent) from April 2017.

Stats NZ looked closely at the unusual retail sales figures for April 2018.

“These results may be affected by changes in consumer behaviour, payment methods, or the way the electronic card transactions were processed. We will continue to explore the data with our suppliers to further understand these movements,” Mr Dolan said.

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

Source: Stats NZ

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