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Doozy of a quarter for retail sales

Core retail sales enjoyed record growth in the December 2011 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Core retail sales enjoyed record growth in the December 2011 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Sales for the core retail industries (excluding vehicle-related industries) had its biggest-ever seasonally adjusted increase since the series began in 1995, rising 2.9 percent. This came on the back of another strong rise in the September 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.

“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 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).

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