Christchuch retail rebound continues

Sales in cafes, restaurants, hotel and motels in Christchurch surged in the three months before Christmas, data from Statistics New Zealand shows.

That surge in activity brough that sector back to where it was before the earthquakes.

Statistics NZ today published its "Christchurch retail indicator" for the December quarter 2012.

It is measuring how far the retail sector has come since a dramatic fall in sales after the earthquakes.

Sales at food and accommodation businesses in the December quarter lifted strongly - 4.1 per cent above the September quarter.

Statistics New Zealand said "accommodation and food services activity in Christchurch has now returned to pre-quake levels".

Sales in other parts of retailing were more moderate and rose 0.8 per cent in the quarter.

Overall, the total rise in Christchurch retailing in the quarter was 1.3 per cent, behind the national increase of 1.7 per cent in the December quarter.

Sales growth in retail trade in Christchurch after the earthquakes is still trailing the growth in the rest of the country but the gap is closing fast. Christchurch's total retail sales have risen 8.3 per cent since June 2010, before the quakes, while national growth has been 10 per cent.

However stronger-than-average increases in retail sales in Christchurch over the past year are closing the gap.