Spending slows in July
Shoppers cooled their heels - and their eftpos and credit cards - last month, spending 0.8 per cent less on the plastic.
The spending slip more than reversed a 0.4 per cent lift in June.
July card spending on core retail, which excludes vehicle related categories, fell a seasonally adjusted 1.5 per cent, undoing June's 1.4 per cent boost, said Statistics New Zealand.
All core retail categories went backwards last month. Hospitality, the star performer in June, saw card spending drop by 3.4 per cent or $21 million.
Spending on durables such as furniture and appliances fell by 0.9 per cent or $10m, again reversing June gains.
Shoppers spent 0.4 per cent or $5m less on consumables such as food, and 1.3 per cent or $4m less on clothing and footwear.
Total retail spending, which includes vehicle-related purchases, also fell 0.6 per cent, despite fuel notching up the biggest increase of all categories - up 0.4 per cent or $3m.
ASB economist Daniel Smith said the card figures had been very strong in recent months, and last month's drop only took the overall level of spending back in line with May levels.
''[This] moves the rate of spending growth closer to its sustainable trend. With data of this nature, only several consecutive months of weakness would start to ring alarm bells.''
Petrol prices rose sharply last month, he said, which had suggested fuel spending would increase even more than it did.
Smith said increased housing market activity would support retail spending, ''but high levels of household debt and modest employment gains will restrict spending growth to a moderate pace''.
ASB expected the Reserve Bank would keep the interest rate on hold at 2.5 per cent until June next year.
Statistics NZ's industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno said the spending trends were continuing to increase, but the rate of increase was weakening.
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