14 Aug 2014

Strong retail sales push up NZ dollar

2:37 pm on 14 August 2014

Stronger than expected retail sales have pushed the New Zealand dollar up nearly a third of a US cent.

Sales rose 1.2 percent in the June quarter from the March quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, and were up 3.8 percent from June last year.

An economist at Westpac, Felix Delbruck, said the figures came as a surprise but were consistent with other signs the domestic economy was "running a little bit warmer", though it was still less strong than last year.

"It looks like it was mainly concentrated in the durables categories and hospitality as well."

The higher sales were also driven by sales of vehicles and motor parts.

Statistics New Zealand said the auto industry recorded its biggest increase in two years.

This came off the back of rising car registrations, a strong New Zealand dollar, and a drop in car prices over the past two quarters.

Food and drink sales were also up in the June quarter.

But fuel sales have taken a dent, going down 3.3 percent.