New Zealand's retailers suffered a big setback in June after seeing some encouraging signs earlier in the year.
Monthly electronic card transactions figures released by Statistics New Zealand today show that core retail spending (excluding automotive industries and fuel) went backwards by 1.2 percent last month, following rises in the previous three months - including a 1.1 percent increase in May.
The fall was the biggest monthly drop in the core retail sales figures since October 2007. SNZ said that the durables industry, including furniture, hardware and appliance retailing, was the main contributor.
And while the "trend" for total and core retail sales was still pointing upward, this was now at a slower rate than had been the case in both March and April.
In June total electronic card transactions were down 0.4 percent, while all retail industries (including fuel and automotive) were down 1 percent. The fall in the all-retail figures was the first monthly decline since January.
Consumers are continuing to turn off their credit cards in favour of using debit cards - accessing their own rather than borrowed money. Credit cards accounted for just 45.2 percent of transactions in the year to June, which was the ninth consecutive month to show a decrease.
Do you feel better off than you were this time last year?