15 May 2014

Retail spending lift proves patchy

7:17 am on 15 May 2014

Retail spending was buoyant in the three months to March, but it's not a positive picture across all of the regions.

Craig Ebert

Craig Ebert Photo: SUPPLIED

Nationally, 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 billion in the quarter.

At a regional level the value of sales in Auckland rose 2.8 percent, which a BNZ economist, Craig Ebert, says could be due to migration.

But sales in Waikato were down 2.2 percent in the quarter to be 4.7 percent lower than a year ago, which Mr Ebert says is surprising, given it's a dairy-rich region.