Some retailers defy spending data

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 07:30 15/11/2012

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Shoppers have delivered a surprise blow to official spending figures but retailers are at odds with the gloomy data.

Statistics New Zealand reported an unexpected 0.8 per cent or $139 million fall in retail spending in the three months ending September 30, compared with the June quarter. The volume of sales slipped 0.4 per cent. Economists had picked a modest rise in retail spending for the period.

Statistics NZ said supermarkets and grocery stores suffered the biggest spending cut, with the volume of sales falling 1.5 per cent in the September quarter and the value of sales down 1.6 per cent or $66m.

But Countdown spokesman Luke Schepen said its results showed an increase in sales over the two quarters. The average weekly take in its supermarkets in the 12 weeks to June 24 was $103.8m, while the same for the 14 weeks to September 30 was $104.1m - a rise of 0.3 per cent.

A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs wouldn't provide its figures but she said the overall market "has been a bit soft recently, but [it] is slightly ahead, year-on-year".

Vehicle and car parts sales fell 1.8 per cent or $41m by value in the quarter and 0.9 per cent by volume, after prices also fell 0.9 per cent.

But Todd Hunter, chief operating officer of used car dealer Turners Auctions, said the volume of used cars sold across the whole market was up slightly - by about 1 per cent - in the September quarter, and its own volumes were up by a lot more. The value of sales was also up.

Prices of used cars had softened as new car sales increased the pool of secondhand cars.

Statistics NZ said the volume of fuel sales was down 1 per cent in the quarter with prices down by almost as much.

The New Zealand dollar dropped slightly to US81.58 cents in response to the data, from US81.87c immediately before the release. Fairfax NZ

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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