NZ retail sales lag behind forecasts


calcuator2New Zealand retail sales figures have fallen short of economists’ projections.

Fuel, clothing, and recreational goods led sales gains in the fourth quarter of 2013, while food, liquor, grocery, and commission sales fell.

The volume of retail sales rose 1.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted, in the final three months of 2013, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Actual sales were up 3.9 per cent from the same quarter a year earlier.

Sales lagged behind the 1.6 per cent quarterly gain and 4.5 per cent annual increase forecast by economists in a Reuters survey.

Figures for the third quarter were revised down to a seasonally adjusted gain of 0.2 per cent from the previously published 0.3 per cent, suggesting retail sales growth in the second half of 2013 wasn’t as robust as some had expected.

The kiwi dollar fell to 83.59 US cents, from 83.86 US cents, immediately before the figures were released, as some traders questioned how aggressively the central bank will raise interest rates starting next month.

Excluding fuel and vehicle-related spending, core retail sales rose 0.7 per cent from the previous quarter.

Clothing, footwear, and accessories sales gained 9.9 per cent, recreational goods sales rose 8.6 per cent and electronic goods sales gained 3.1 per cent.

Non-store and commission based retailing fell 10 per cent and supermarket and grocery store sales declined 0.5 per cent.

“In themselves, today’s numbers suggest some downside risk to our 1.4 per cent December quarter GDP (gross domestic products) forecast, which assumed a strong lift in retail spending in the quarter,” said Felix Delbruck, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp.


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