14 May 2014

Retail spending up

1:57 pm on 14 May 2014

People continued to open their wallets in the three months ended March, but sales volumes were weaker than expected.

Retail spending rose 0.7 percent in the March quarter by both volume and value and was up 3.4 percent in value from the same quarter last year.

Ten of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the latest quarter.

The quarter's increase was led by electrical and electronic goods, which rose 5.5 percent, followed by a 2 percent increase in spending on hardware and garden supplies.

Sales of food and beverages rose 1.5 percent.

In actual terms, the value of total retail sales was $18.3 dollars in the quarter.

ANZ economist Mark Smith said there was broad-based strength, reflecting a number of supports underpinning the economy.

Mr Smith says annual growth in retail values remains below that of household and labour income growth.

He says the prospect of 7 to 8 percent mortgage interest rates are encouraging households to keep their feet on the ground.