New Zealand: Retail sales maintain strong momentum in fourth quarter
February 15, 2012
In the fourth quarter, retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 2.2% over the previous month, which was slightly below the revised 2.4% expansion recorded in the third quarter (previously reported: +2.2% quarter-on-quarter). The fourth quarter expansion overshot market expectations of a 0.8% increase. Compared to the same period last year, retail sales accelerated from 3.9% in the third quarter to 6.6% in the fourth, which marked the fastest growth rate since the second quarter of 2007. According to the National Statistics Office, the quarterly expansion reflected strong growth in core retail sales (which exclude vehicle-related sales), particularly in sales of supermarket and groceries stores as well as electronics goods sales. In the full year 2011, retail sales grew 3.2%, which was stronger than the 2.0% expansion recorded in 2010 and thus pushed retail sales above pre-crisis levels.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist