Seasonally adjusted wholesale trade sales fell 0.9% in the June quarter, following a record decrease of 5.8% in the March quarter.
It is the first time since the current series began in March 1995 that total sales have fallen for four consecutive quarters, Statistics New Zealand says. The total decline over the last year stands at 10.4%.
An 8.9% fall in petroleum wholesaling led the drop, but motor vehicle wholesaling rose 6.3%, the first increase in more than a year and a half.
Westpac research economist Dominic Stephens says the latest results provide further confirmation that the economy has turned around.
He says the fall probably represents a decline in prices and the actual volume of sales is likely to be flat rather than declining.
Stocks fell 4.6%, which Dominic Stephens says is a positive indicator as companies may begin to re-stock, prompting economic growth.