The total volume of retail sales in New Zealand jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent on quarter in the first three months of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said on Monday.
That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.9 percent following the 0.6 percent gain in the three months prior.
Nine of the 15 industries had higher sales volumes. The motor-vehicle and parts retailing industry had record increases in both sales volume and value.
Car sales surged in the first quarter as the motor-vehicles industry had a record 5.9 percent increase and accounted for over half the increase in total retail sales volume for the quarter.
“Car sales have shown consistent growth over the past year, with higher sales of both new and used vehicles in a buoyant market,” senior business indicators manager Neil Kelly said.
Nine of the 15 industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter, with the largest increases in: motor-vehicle and parts retailing – up 5.9 percent; food and beverage services – up 3.5 percent; and electrical and electronic goods – up 5.3 percent.
The total value of retail sales rose 2.6 percent or NZ$558 million in Q1. This followed a 1.6 percent (NZ$325 million) rise in the previous three months.
Eleven of the 15 retail industries had higher sales values in the latest quarter, with the two motor-vehicle-related industries dominating the total sales value increase: motor-vehicle and parts retailing – up 5.9 percent (NZ$179 million); and fuel retailing – up 6.5 percent (NZ$122 million).
The value of total retail sales was NZ$21.5 billion in Q1, up 6.7 percent (NZ$1.3 billion) from a year earlier.
Also on Monday, the latest survey from Business New Zealand showed that the country’s services sector continued to expand in April, although at a much slower pace with a Performance of Services Index score of 52.8.
Now at a four-year low, the index is down sharply from 58.8 in March, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Employment was the only sub-index to expand last month.
Business NZ attributed the big drop to schedule disruption from holidays, as well as erratic weather.
by RTT Staff Writer
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