Core retail sales via card transactions fell 0.1% in December, suggesting Christmas very weak for retailers and hoteliers

Core retail sales via card transactions fell 0.1% in December, suggesting Christmas very weak for retailers and hoteliers

Statistics New Zealand has reported electronic card transactions (EFTPOS, credit and debit cards) for December fell 0.1% in seasonally adjusted terms for core retail sales.

This extends weakness seen in November and contrasts with stronger growth in September and October around the Rugby World Cup.

Total electronic card spending reached NZ$6.6 billion in December, but this was up only 0.2% in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a similar decrease of 0.3% in November and a relatively large 1.7% increase in October.

Spending in core retail (which excludes the motor vehicle-related industries) fell 0.1% in December. Of the core retail industries, consumables and durables both had rises, while the apparel and hospitality industries both had small falls in seasonally adjusted sales.

When the motor vehicle-related industries are included, spending across all retail industries was down 0.3%. Fuel retailing fell 0.1% in December after strong rises in each of the four preceding months.

"Trends for the value of transactions in the total and retail series continue to increase, but the rate of growth has slowed in recent months. The core retail trend began to ease after May 2011 and has been declining since September 2011," Statistics NZ said.

ASB Economist Christina Leung said the strong results around the Rugby World Cup were shortlived and the retailing sector was now back in a very slow recovery mode, although she noted relatively firm spending on consumer durables.

"The continued improvement in spending on durables is encouraging, suggesting that households are feeling confident enough to make big-ticket purchases. We expect a continued recovery in underlying retail spending over 2012, although this will likely remain gradual in light of the continued high level of household debt," Leung said.

"This data adds to recent developments indicating there is little urgency for the RBNZ to raise the OCR, and we continue to expect the RBNZ will remain on hold until the end of this year."

(Updated with more detail, ASB comment)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

What are we in a slow recovery mode from.
If our recovery is based on us kiwis drinking more and buying overpriced crap from our retailors then our recovery will be very slow indeed.
People cannot continue to spend buying loads of shite that they don't really want.

Not to mention paying Shite prices for houses too :)

Crap summer has not helped hoteliers either.
Who wants to pay $100+ per night to watch the rain fall? I was going away for 3 nights last week to Taupo/Rotorua/National Park but stayed home because of the weather. That would have pumped around $1000 into the national economy. 

The Best Status - no it wouldn't. You're not an economist, are you? They talk like that.
That $1,000 was already here.
Unless of course it was debt, in which case it wasn't.
Already here.