14 Dec 2010

Retail sales down 2.5% in October

12:35 pm on 14 December 2010

Retail spending dropped sharply in October, as shoppers reacted to the rise in GST.

Total retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 2.5% to $5.4 billion in October, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

Excluding fuel and car sales, core retail sales were 1.6% lower for the month, with big ticket items like cars, furniture, and electronic goods particularly hard hit.

That follows a 1.7% rise in September, as shoppers rushed to buy before the GST rise which took effect on 1 October.

The ANZ senior economist, Sharon Zollner, says the worse-than-expected data shows consumers are retrenching.