Retail sales fall after Rugby World Cup boost   13 Jun 2012

Statistics New Zealand has revised the release for Retail Trade Survey: March 2012 quarter, first published on 14 May 2012.

The revised results show that in the March 2012 quarter, the volume of core retail sales fell, but to a lesser extent than previously indicated. This fall is off the back of a boost from the Rugby World Cup in the previous two quarters.

Sales volumes for the core retail industries (which exclude vehicle-related industries) fell 1.4 percent in the March 2012 quarter. This decrease follows strong growth in the second half of 2011, when the Rugby World Cup brought 133,200 overseas visitors to New Zealand.

When the two vehicle-related industries are included, total sales volumes fell 0.6 percent.

"The industries that led this drop are the same ones whose sales were boosted during the Cup – supermarkets, accommodation, and fuel," industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said.

"Although sales volumes have fallen, they are still above their pre-Cup levels."

When the effects of price changes are included, the value of core retail sales fell 1.0 percent to $13.3 billion. The value of total retail sales remained flat, up just 0.1 percent, at $17.4 billion.

When we look at the longer-term picture, the trends for both total sales volumes and values have flattened after a period of strong increases.

"Following the release of retail trade statistics for the March 2012 quarter, a number of economic commentators queried the extent of the sales volumes decline in the supermarket and grocery stores," Mr Cardno said.

"We hold ourselves to the highest standards and considered we had an obligation to further investigate the figures. Additional information and investigation allowed us to determine we had an anomalous result, which did not reflect the economic reality and therefore needed to be revised."

For more information, please see the Revisions section of the accompanying information release and Quarterly Retail Trade Survey time-series revision on the Statistics NZ website.

Dallas Welch (Mrs)
Acting Government Statistician
13 June 2012

(Statistics New Zealand)

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