23 Nov 2021

Lockdown sees significant retail sales volumes drop

2:49 pm on 23 November 2021

Retail sales volumes have fallen sharply on the back of lockdowns across the country.

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Stats NZ says the volume of retail sales fell just over eight percent in for the three months ended September, compared with a 3.3 percent rise in the June quarter.

Food and beverage services had the biggest fall, down 19 percent, compared with a 5.2 percent increase in the previous quarter.

Decreases in motor vehicle and parts, department stores and hardware and building supplies also contributed to the significant sales volume fall, Stats NZ said.

Stats NZ retail trade manager Sue Chapman said lockdowns had impacted sales.

"Several comments from vehicle dealers and building supply owners stated that extended lockdowns, increased inventory costs, and increased supply issues led to lower sales and higher stocks this quarter," Chapman said.

Supermarket and grocery sales had the biggest jump in sales, up 7.5 percent after a modest 0.5 percent increase in the June quarter.

"The surge in supermarket sales had repeated what was seen in the first national lockdown last year, when grocery sales jumped to a record 8.6 percent rise in the March 2020 quarter," Chapman said.

Meanwhile, nationwide consumer spending fell significantly, influenced by a record fall in retail sales for Auckland.

The seasonally adjusted total sales values fell 7 percent ($2 billion) compared with the 4.2 percent ($1.1b) rise in the June quarter.

The Auckland region dominated the national fall, with a record 15 percent ($1.5b) decrease, compared with the 6.2 percent ($618 million) rise in the previous quarter.

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