Retail Trade Survey: December 2011 quarter

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

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

Big increases in supermarket and fuel sales have boosted this quarters figures, business statisticsmanager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. Rugby World Cup visitors and the delayed start to the spring schoolholidays have probably contributed to the big sales increases weve 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 reopeningof two large department stores in Christchurch contributed to that industrys 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 $13.7billion. 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 increasesince this series began in 2003. All eight of the Rugby World Cup knockout games were played in theNorth Island during October. South Island sales values rose slightly (up 0.6 percent).

When we look at the longer term picture, the trends forboth total sales volumes and values continue torise, and have strengthened in the past few quarters.