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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Record increase for grocery wholesalers in March quarter – Media release

9 June 2020

The value of grocery, liquor, and tobacco product wholesaling rose $354 million (4.1 percent) in the March 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“This is the largest dollar value increase in grocery, liquor, and tobacco product wholesaling in over 20 years,” business statistics manager Kathy Hicks said.

“Grocery wholesalers supplied retailers with goods, from flour to toilet paper, as people stocked up in the lead-up to the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown at the end of March.

 “The rise in grocery wholesaling was also partly driven by bumper kiwifruit sales.”

Kiwifruit gives March exports a golden glow reported that the value of fruit exports rose $115 million (54 percent) in the month of March, mainly due to gold kiwifruit.

“Kiwifruit sales were up on previous March quarters, reflecting an early harvest,” Ms Hicks said.

The second largest rise was for other goods wholesaling, which increased 2.1 percent ($91 million). This industry includes pharmaceutical and toiletry goods, textile materials, stationery, and furniture.

Of the six wholesale industries, three rises offset three falls, resulting in a 0.6 percent rise in the March 2020 quarter. This followed a 0.4 percent rise in the December 2019 quarter.

The largest industry fall was in motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts wholesaling, which fell 5.4 percent ($153 million) in the March 2020 quarter, following a 0.3 percent ($9.2 million) rise in the December 2019 quarter.

Retail trade survey: March 2020 quarter also saw falling retail sales for motor vehicles.

“Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 led to the closure of all non-essential businesses from midnight March 25, including car yards,” Ms Hicks said.

The number of new car registrations in the March 2020 quarter was down 12 percent (7,094 registrations) from the March 2019 quarter.

See Infoshare, industry sectors, transport, for more data.

The actual value of total wholesale trade sales was $26.5 billion in the March 2020 quarter, up $483 million (1.9 percent) from the March 2019 quarter.

The wholesale trade survey does not adjust for changes in price level.

MIL OSI