10 May 2011

Food and alcohol spending rises

1:35 pm on 10 May 2011

Retail spending using electronic cards has risen as people spent more on food and alcohol, both at home and at bars, cafes and restaurants.

Statistics New Zealand figures shows the spending using debit, credit and charge cards rose to $4 billion in April, a seasonally-adjusted 1.5% increase on the previous month.

Once volatile car and fuel sales are stripped out, core retail spending rose 1.6% to $3.3 billion.

Goldman Sachs economist Philip Borkin says spending remains modest, and appears mainly driven by higher prices, rather than demand.

Statistics New Zealand says the figures include data from Canterbury, but the agency is unable to estimate the impact of February's devastating quake on the data because it's not broken down by region.

The survey covers about two-thirds of retail sales, and does not include payments by cash or cheque.