New Zealand: Retail sales slowed in the second quarter but remain healthy
August 25, 2011
In the second quarter, nominal retail sales expanded a seasonally adjusted 1.7% over the previous quarter. The reading was below the revised 2.3% increase observed in the first quarter (previously reported: +2.0% quarter-on-quarter), but overshot market expectations of a 1.0% increase. Compared to the same quarter last year, retail sales accelerated from a 3.4% increase in the first quarter to a 4.1% expansion in the second. According to the National Statistics Institute, the quarterly expansion reflected higher sales in motor vehicles and parts, as well as in electrical and electronics goods. Meanwhile, the Institute stated that retail sales in Christchurch strengthened following the earthquake in February, as sales in hardware, building and garden supplies, as well as in fuel, registered significant increases compared to the rest of New Zealand. The quarterly reading shows that domestic demand, particularly private consumption, remained strong in the three-month period to June. However, the trend continues to point to a moderation in the recovery, with annual average growth in retail sales dropping from 3.2% in the first quarter to 3.0% in the second quarter.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist