New Zealand retail sales slowed sharply in the September quarter, thanks in part to the conclusion of the British and Irish Lions rugby tour.
According to Statistics New Zealand (StatsNZ), retail sales volumes rose by 0.2%, a sharp deceleration from the 1.8% level reported in the June quarter.
Despite the slowdown, the increase was slightly above the 0.1% level expected.
“There were strong increases from the food and beverage services and accommodation industries in June, on the back of the World Masters Games and the Lions tour,” said Sue Chapman, retail trade manager at StatsNZ. “However, the reverse has occurred this quarter, with both of these industries falling.”
Including price movements, sales grew by a smaller 0.1%, well below the 2.5% and 1.4% increases reported in the previous two quarters.
“Eight of the 15 industries had higher sales values with supermarket and grocery sales recording the largest increase, up 1.6%,” said StatsNZ. “The largest decrease was in fuel retailing, down 3.2%.
The total value of retail sales during the quarter stood at $NZ21.9 billion, up 5.4% on a year earlier.
The NZD/USD rose fractionally following the release of the report, hitting a high of .6893. It currently trades at .6880.