Total seasonally adjusted retail sales were flat in November, but this was better than the 1.3% fall reported in October and the 0.9% fall that economists had forecast. Statistics NZ reported seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding motor vehicle and fuel sales, which is seen as one measure of core sales, rose 0.3% in November from October, which was slower than the 0.8% growth in October, but better than the consensus economist forecast for flat core sales. Non seasonally adjusted core retail sales, excluding motor vehicle sales, fell 0.9% in November from a year ago, compared with growth of 4.1% in October from a year ago. The big picture for borrowers and investors is that this number is relatively old and won't be too closely watched by the Reserve Bank. However, it does indicate that retail sales were not as bad as first thought in November and takes a smidgen of the pressure off the Reserve Bank for a big cut in the Official Cash Rate next Thursday. However, it is unlikely to change most economsists' forecasts for a 100 basis point cut in the OCR to 4%. Anecdotal reports of sales in the key month of December indicated consumer spending remained weak.