14 May 2015

Surge in retail sales

2:50 pm on 14 May 2015

The first three months of the year have been a boom time for retailers according to latest figures.

Statistics New Zealand data shows seasonally adjusted retail sales rose to $19.6 billion in the three months to March, a rise of 1.7 percent on the previous quarter.

A growing economy and more people in work have boosted consumer spending, which has generally been rising since 2009.

Sales volumes jumped 2.7 percent, the biggest quarterly gain since the series began in 2003.

Spending on electronic goods led the way, which Statistics New Zealand puts down to people buying laptops and tablets for the start of the school year.

Households also took advantage of lower prices to buy more fuel, as well as spending more on building and garden supplies.

Senior economist at Westpac Bank, Felix Delbruck, said rebounding fuel prices and lower dairy incomes would curb spending growth in the coming months, though it would remain relatively robust.