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Retail Trade Survey: June 2011 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  25 August 2011
Commentary

All references to sales movements are to seasonally adjusted series unless otherwise stated.

Note that retail sales are collected and presented exclusive of GST. Therefore, the retail trade deflators used to estimate the volume of retail sales do not reflect the rise in GST in October 2010.

June 2011 quarter sales value summary

The value of total retail sales increased 1.7 percent in the June 2011 quarter, following a 2.3 percent increase in the March 2011 quarter.


Both of the vehicle-related industries rose, but to very different extents:

  • motor vehicle and parts (up 4.9 percent or $96 million) 
  • fuel (up 0.1 percent or $2 million).

Core retail sales rose 1.4 percent, led by large increases in:

  • supermarket and grocery stores (up 1.6 percent or $68 million)
  • electrical and electronic goods (up 7.2 percent or $46 million)
  • pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing (up 3.9 percent or $43 million).

Only three industries recorded decreased sales in the June 2011 quarter:

  • hardware, building and garden supplies (down 1.6 percent or $18 million)
  • specialised food (down 4.3 percent or $14 million)
  • non-store and commission-based retailing (down 4.7 percent or $10 million).

 Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales values, change from March 2011 quarter.

June 2011 quarter sales volumes summary

All references to dollar values in this section are at September 2010 quarter prices.

The volume of total retail sales rose 0.9 percent in the June 2011 quarter. This follows a 1.1 percent increase in the March quarter.

The biggest contributors to the increase in the June 2011 quarter were:

  • motor vehicle and parts, up 4.2 percent
  • electrical and electronic goods, up 10.0 percent
  • pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, up 4.0 percent.

The largest decreases were recorded in:

  • fuel retailing, down 4.1 percent
  • specialised food, down 6.3 percent
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies, down 1.6 percent.

Core retail volumes rose 1.0 percent.

 Graph, Retail industry contributions to the change in seasonally adjusted sales volumes, Change from March 2011 quarter.
 

June 2011 quarter trends

The trend for total retail sales value has been rising since March 2009, up 10.0 percent ($1.5 billion) since then. The rate of increase has strengthened to 1.5 percent per quarter over the past two quarters, following an average rate of 0.6 percent in the preceding three quarters.

The trend for core retailing sales values has been rising since September 2008, up 8.1 percent ($972 million) since then. The core sales trend has strengthened over the past two quarters, and is now rising at an average rate of 1.1 percent per quarter.

 Graph, Quarterly retail sales values, June 2011 quarter.

The trend for total sales volumes has picked up over the past two quarters, rising at an average rate of 0.5 percent. This follows a period of little growth between June and December 2010.

The core volumes trend has also strengthened over the past two quarters, increasing at a rate of 0.8 percent per quarter since December 2010.

 Graph, Quarterly retail sales volumes, June 2011 quarter.

Actual sales June 2011 quarter

In the June 2011 quarter compared with the June 2010 quarter:

  • the value of total retail sales rose 4.1 percent
  • the volume of total retail sales rose 1.1 percent
  • the value of core retail sales rose 3.1 percent
  • the volume of core retail sales rose 1.9 percent.

Ongoing impact of the 22 February 2011 earthquake on Christchurch retail industries

The June 2011 quarter is the first full quarter since the devastating earthquake of 22 February 2011.

All references to sales movements in this section are based on actual data. Comparisons are made between the June 2011 quarter and the March 2011 quarter.

Because the quarterly Retail Trade Survey is designed at a national level, data for regions and territorial authorities have higher sample errors. However, the information we have shows that the 22 February earthquake had a noticeable impact on retail sales in Christchurch and Canterbury.

Actual retail sales and sample errors
June 2011 quarter
Area Percentage change
(from March 2011 quarter)
Movement sample error
(absolute percent)
Total New Zealand -0.8 1.9
Canterbury region +1.7 6.1
Christchurch territorial authority area +3.3 16.3

 Graph, Actual retail sales, Change from previous quarter, June 2011 quarter.

In the March 2011 quarter, Christchurch and the Canterbury region recorded larger decreases in actual retail sales than the rest of the country. As shown in the graph above, in the June 2011 quarter this pattern has been reversed, with sales in Christchurch and Canterbury recording increases while total New Zealand sales recorded a decrease.

In the June 2011 quarter, hardware, building, and garden supplies sales in Christchurch and Canterbury rose more than 10 percent. This compares with a decrease of 0.3 percent for New Zealand. Increases were particularly apparent in businesses selling building supplies. In general, the rebuilding of houses and commercial buildings damaged in the quakes has yet to get underway; however, work on temporary and permanent repairs continued throughout the June quarter.

Fuel retailing also recorded increases in Christchurch (up 16.5 percent) and Canterbury (up 6.6 percent) in the June 2011 quarter, while the national total increased by just 0.1 percent. This may reflect the return to Canterbury of many people who left the region following the February quake. The June 2011 quarter’s increase may also reflect Christchurch prices catching up with the rest of New Zealand, after a number of fuel price increases were not passed on to consumers in Christchurch in the March 2011 quarter.  

Department store sales in Christchurch rose only slightly in the June 2011 quarter (up 2.2 percent), while national sales rose 9.4 percent. Approximately one-third of Christchurch’s department stores remained closed throughout the quarter.

For more information on the impact of the earthquake on the Retail Trade Survey and what Statistics NZ has done to account for this, see Impact of the 22 February 2011 earthquake on the Retail Trade Survey.

Fuel

The value and volume of fuel sales are not seasonally adjusted as they do not exhibit a reliable seasonal pattern.

The value of fuel sales rose just 0.1 percent ($2 million) in the June 2011 quarter, compared with the March 2011 quarter. This follows large increases of 5.6 percent in the March 2011 quarter and 10.4 percent in the December 2010 quarter.

The June quarter's slight increase in sales values is the result of a 4.5 percent increase in prices and a 4.1 percent decrease in volumes.

 Graph, Fuel retailing sales values, quarterly, June 2011.

The trend for sales values has risen 13.3 percent since September 2010, and is now just 2.4 percent lower than at its peak in June 2008. Conversely, the fuel volumes trend is now 16.6 percent below its December 2007 peak. Per head of population, the trend for fuel volumes is now 19.6 percent below its peak in December 2007. Over the same period, prices in this industry have risen almost 27 percent.

Electrical and electronic goods

Electric and electronic goods sales values rose 7.2 percent ($46 million) in the June 2011 quarter, following a 3.1 percent increase in March 2011.

This increase is the result of a 10.0 percent rise in volumes and a 1.5 percent decrease in prices.

 Graph, Electrical and electronic goods sales values, June 2011 quarter.

The sales value trend reached a turning point in December 2010 after two quarters of decline. Growth in the March and June quarters of 2011 was very strong, averaging 4.4 percent per quarter.

The sales volumes trend has been rising since December 2007, and has strengthened in the past two quarters with an average increase of 7.0 percent per quarter (compared with 2.4 percent per quarter between March 2008 and December 2010).

Supermarket and grocery stores

Sales values for supermarket and grocery stores rose 1.6 percent ($68 million) in the June 2011 quarter. This increase was the result of a 1.0 percent rise in prices and a 0.2 percent rise in volumes.

The 1.0 percent price increase was led by rises in the price of grocery food and non-alcoholic beverages.

 Graph, Supermarket and grocery stores sales values, quarterly, June 2011.

The sales value trend has increased 7.2 percent ($283 million) since a turning point in March 2010. Over the same period, the sales volume trend has increased 1.3 percent and prices have risen 5.2 percent.

Per head of population, the trend for supermarket and grocery store volumes is currently 2.4 percent below its peak in September 2009. Meanwhile, the sales value per head of population has risen 2.7 percent. 

Stocks

Stock figures were recorded at 30 June 2011. All references to stocks are given in actual dollars.

In the national accounts, the key stock number is the change in stocks over the period, excluding losses such as stock destroyed by the Canterbury earthquakes. Therefore stock levels in this release will not be the same as those used to produce Gross Domestic Product: June 2011 quarter, which will be published on 22 September 2011.

For more information on how stock was treated for Christchurch non-respondents, see Impact of the 22 February 2011 earthquake on the Retail Trade Survey.

The total value of stocks held at the end of June 2011 was 2.6 percent ($153 million) higher than at the end of June 2010. 

The value of stocks for the core retailing industries rose 2.3 percent in the June 2011 quarter, compared with the June 2010 quarter.

The largest increases were in:

  • clothing and footwear (up 9.1 percent or $58 million)
  • supermarket and grocery stores (up 7.4 percent or $43 million)
  • motor vehicle and parts (up 2.9 percent or $35 million).

The largest decreases were in:

  • recreational goods (down 5.9 percent or $26 million) 
  • hardware, building, and garden supplies (down 3.3 percent or $24 million)

 Graph, Quarterly retail stock levels, June 2011 quarter.

Regional estimates

Seasonally adjusted sales rose in all of the six regions.

Total North Island sales rose 0.7 percent ($94 million). Regional contributors were:

  • Auckland, up 0.2 percent ($13 million)
  • Waikato, up 0.9 percent ($14 million)
  • Wellington, up 1.8 percent ($33 million)
  • remainder of the North Island, up 0.9 percent ($34 million).

Total South Island sales rose 2.4 percent, ($95 million). Regional contributors were:

  • Canterbury, up 1.2 percent ($27 million) 
  • remainder of the South Island, up 3.7 percent ($69 million).

The sales trend for the North Island has risen 11.6 percent since its most recent turning point in the March 2009 quarter. The South Island trend fell 1.3 percent between June and December 2010, but has since risen 3.5 percent.

 Graph, Quarterly index numbers, retail sales value trend by geographic region, June 2011 quarter.

Regional sales trends were as follows:

  • Auckland – the trend has been rising since March 2009, up 17.4 percent since then. 
  • Waikato – the trend has risen 15.3 percent since March 2009. 
  • Wellington – the trend has been rising since September 2009, up 15.9 percent since then. 
  • Remainder of the North Island – the trend reached a turning point in September 2010, rising 3.7 percent since then. 
  • Canterbury – aside from a single quarter of decline (in December 2010) the trend has been rising since December 2009, up 9.6 percent since then. 
  • Remainder of the South Island – the trend has risen 5.5 percent since a turning point in the December 2010 quarter.

Contributions to total actual retail sales in the June 2011 quarter were:

  • Auckland, 33.8 percent
  • Waikato, 9.6 percent
  • Wellington, 11.2 percent
  • remainder of the North Island, 21.0 percent
  • Canterbury, 13.3 percent
  • remainder of the South Island, 11.0 percent.

 Graph, Regional contribution to actual retail sales values, June 2011 quarter.

Regional data should be used with caution as some sample errors are significant – see the 'Measurement errors' section in this commentary.

Revisions

There were no revisions in the June 2011 quarter.

Related information

The following information is for actual figures unless otherwise stated.

For the June 2011 quarter compared with the March 2011 quarter:

  • The consumers price index rose 1.0 percent.
  • New Zealand Transport Agency figures showed that new registrations of cars and station wagons (including cars previously registered overseas) were down 10.1 percent.

Long-term comparisons:

  • Credit card billings in New Zealand, including spending using New Zealand and overseas issued cards, rose 5.4 percent in the June 2011 quarter (compared with the same period of the previous year).

Other:

  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand's Official Cash Rate (OCR) remained at 2.50 percent throughout the June 2011 quarter.

Measurement errors

All statistical estimates are subject to measurement errors. These include both sample errors and non-sample errors. In addition, the survey applies imputation methodologies to cope with small firms and non-response. These measurement errors should be considered when analysing the results from the survey. For more information on measurement errors, please refer to the 'Technical notes' section of this release.

Sample errors

The postal survey was designed to give statistics at the following levels of accuracy (at the 95 percent confidence interval limit):

  • 3 percent for sales at the total national retail trade level
  • 10 percent for sales at the published national retail industry level.

This means, for example, that there is a 95 percent chance that the true value of total retail trade sales lies within 3 percent of the published estimate.

Retail Trade Survey: June 2011 quarter sample errors by industry
At the 95 percent confidence interval limit
Retail industry Level
(relative percent)
Movement
(absolute percent)
Motor vehicle and parts 7.0 1.9
Fuel 2.5 1.2
Supermarket and grocery stores 7.2 4.6
Specialised food 6.3 8.0
Liquor 7.4 6.2
Furniture, floor coverings, houseware, textiles 7.2 3.0
Electrical and electronic goods 2.1 1.5
Hardware, building, and garden supplies 4.1 0.9
Recreational goods 17.3 7.3
Clothing, footwear, and accessories 15.4 4.0
Department stores 0.0 0.0
Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing 7.4 4.7
Non-store and commission-based retailing 12.1 18.3
Accommodation 4.0 2.4
Food and beverage services 3.8 3.4
Total retail trade 2.3 1.9

Industries with zero sample error are full-coverage industries. In these industries, all large firms are surveyed and all small to medium-sized firms are modelled using administrative data sourced from Inland Revenue.

Retail Trade Survey: June 2011 quarter sample errors by region
At the 95 percent confidence interval limit
Region Level
(relative percent)
Movement
(absolute percent)
Auckland 6.2 2.5
Waikato 18.4 6.8
Wellington 13.7 5.5
Remainder of the North Island 9.8 7.2
Canterbury 14.2 6.1
Remainder of the South Island 12.3 4.4

 

Imputation

Small firms

Small to medium-sized firms are generally not surveyed. Their variables are instead modelled from administrative data (GST) sourced from Inland Revenue. Ratios calculated from the postal sample units are applied to the administrative data to provide an estimate of their variables.

Non-response imputation

Although every attempt is made to achieve a 100 percent response rate, in practice this does not occur. Values for non-responding businesses are estimated by a number of methods, including:

  • regression imputation
  • historic imputation
  • mean imputation.

Regression imputation involves estimating sales from the unit's administrative data (GST sales) based on the relationship shown by similar businesses. Historic imputation involves multiplying their response in the previous period by a non-response factor. The non-response factor is the average movement of similar businesses over the month. Mean imputation involves estimating a value for a unit by using the average value for a set of similar businesses.

Sales imputed in the June 2011 quarter
Retail industry Tax modelled Non-response
Percentage of sales
Motor vehicle and parts 7.8 14.0
Fuel 1.5 14.6
Supermarket and grocery stores 5.4 7.9
Specialised food 9.3 17.9
Liquor 10.9 15.0
Furniture, floor coverings, houseware, textiles 13.8 12.8
Electrical and electronic goods 11.1 11.3
Hardware, building, and garden supplies 11.0 8.9
Recreational goods 9.6 11.0
Clothing, footwear, and accessories 7.4 11.6
Department stores 0.0 0.0
Pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing 10.1 14.7
Non-store and commission-based retailing 11.6 8.6
Accommodation 10.7 15.9
Food and beverage services 11.0 15.4
Total retail trade 7.3 11.4

 

Postal response rate

The response rate describes the proportion of geographic units that provided survey responses. Note that the calculation of this response rate relates only to data for the postal sample. The Retail Trade Survey has a target response rate of 85 percent. The response rate achieved for the June 2011 quarter was 87.7 percent.

For technical information contact: 
Kate Jackett or Tehseen Islam
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release ...

Retail Trade Survey: September 2011 quarter will be released on 14 November 2011.

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