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Another strong quarter for retail sales

In the latest indicator of economic recovery, the retail sector is strengthening, with sales up nearly 2 percent in the June quarter and price rises across a number of industries.

In the latest indicator of economic recovery, the retail sector is strengthening, with sales up nearly 2 percent in the June quarter and price rises across a number of industries.

Seasonally adjusted total retail sales values rose 1.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today, as a result of a. 0.9 percent increase in total sales volumes.

"The information we have suggests that actual sales in Christchurch have strengthened following the quake-affected March quarter," industry and labour statistics manager Kathy Connolly said.

While the Retail Trade Survey is not designed to give a definite picture of sales movements below national level, evidence made it clear the 'hardware, building, and garden supplies' and 'fuel' industries had significantly larger increases in Christchurch than in the rest of New Zealand, she said.

Compared with the rest of the country, department store sales were weaker in Christchurch, where approximately a third of all department stores remain closed.

Wellington reported the fastest growth at a regional level followed by Canterbury. Auckland was the slowest at just 0.2 per cent.

Nationally, 12 of the 15 industries recorded increased sales values in the June 2011 quarter. Motor vehicle and parts retailing, up 4.9 percent, contributed the most to the quarter’s increase, followed by supermarket and grocery stores, up 1.6 percent.

The motor vehicle and parts industry was also the largest contributor to the increase in sales volumes, with a rise of 4.2 percent. This was followed by a 10 percent increase in the volume of electrical and electronic goods.

The trend for total sales values has been rising since March 2009, and has strengthened slightly in recent quarters. The trend for total sales volumes has picked up since the December quarter, following a period of slow growth.