Retail spending rose in June

Last updated 12:54 10/07/2012

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Households eased the purse strings a little further last month helping to lift total retail spending by 0.4 per cent, the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show.

A total of $4.2 billion was paid for using electronic payment cards, including eftpos and credit cards.

Core retailing accounted for 0.9 per cent of the seasonally adjusted increase. People were also beginning to start eating out again with spending on hospitality including accommodation, bars and restaurants up 3.1 per cent or $19 million.

Spending on consumables such as food and liquor was up 1 per cent or $15m.

Government statistician Geoff Bascand said the trends for retail spending on electronic cards had strengthened in recent months.

However, clothing slipped 0.3 per cent to $281m while fuel sales had the biggest fall of 4 per cent, down $26m to $617m, largely reversing a 4.4 per cent rise in May.

ASB economist Christian Leung said the figures suggested a cautious recovery in household spending was continuing.

A 0.5 per cent rise in spending on durables including hardware and appliances was likely to reflect the increase in house sales since late last year, Leung said.

"Spending in durables tends to increase in line with house sales, as households purchase furniture and appliance to furnish their new homes."

Overall, household discretionary spending appeared to recovering, but the recovery would remain gradual with debt levels still relatively high, Leung said.

The latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion today showed retailers were generally feeling less optimistic about their sales outlook as subdued demand kept prices down.

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