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Retail card spending recovers – Media release

12 February 2019

Retail card spending recovered in January 2019 following a drop in December 2018, Stats NZ said today.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, overall retail spending rose 1.8 percent in January, after a 2.3 percent fall in December.

The rise in retail card spending was driven by the sales of durables (such as furniture, hardware, appliances, and pharmaceutical retailing), up $64 million or 5.1 percent seasonally adjusted, after falling 4.2 percent in December.

“Spending in the durables industry bounced back from the December 2018 month,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said. “A lag in processing of transactions may have contributed to the December and January movements.”

Spending rose across five of the six retail industries in January 2019. The largest rise came from the durables industry, followed by the apparel industry, up $8.6 million (2.9 percent).

Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) rose 2.2 percent in January 2019, after a 1.7 percent fall in December.

The total value of electronic card spending, including the two non-retail categories (services and non-retail), rose 2.0 percent in January 2019. This follows a 1.9 percent fall in December.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.5 billion, up $187 million (3.5 percent) from January 2018.