There was a big lift in New Zealand retail sales at the end of last year

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  • New Zealand retail sales volumes jumped by 1.7% in the December quarter last year
  • The increase was stronger than markets had been expecting
  • Sales were boosted by strong growth in dining out and grocery sales

New Zealand retail sales surged in the final quarter of last year, helped by strong growth in dining out and grocery sales.

According to Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ), retail sales volumes jumped by 1.7% for the quarter in seasonally adjusted terms — above the 1.3% gain expected — leaving the increase on a year earlier at 5.4%.

It was a substantial improvement in the 0.3% gain in the September quarter which was impacted by the British and Irish Lions tour that helped boost sales in the prior quarter.

Source: Stats NZ

“Food and beverage services led this quarter’s retail increases,” said Sue Chapman, retail trade manager at Stats NZ. “But people were not just eating out, they also spent more on groceries in the December quarter.”

Sales volumes increased in 11 of the 15 categories tracked by StatsNZ, led by gains of 3.7% and and 2.1% for food and and beverage services and motor vehicle and parts retailing.

Sales for accommodation services registered the largest drop at 2.3%.

Source: StatsNZ

Including price movements, sales grew by 1.9%, or $NZ444 million, to $NZ25.2 billion.

That was up from a 0.4% increase in the September quarter.

Despite the upside beat, there has been negligible reaction in financial markets to the report.

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