It's music to the collective ear of Kiwi marketers: according to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand, total retail sales in New Zealand were up 0.8 percent ($46 million) in November, following two months of flat retail results in September and October. Added to that, the latest Roy Morgan-ANZ poll showed New Zealand consumer confidence hit a three-year high in January, with a recovery in the housing market and a possible peak in the unemployment rate creating more optimism for both current and future conditions.
As ANZ put it: "This portends of a preparedness to open the wallet."
Statistics NZ says the increase in retail was led by automotive fuel retailing, which was up $20 million, and the ‘other retailing' industry (up $17 million), which includes activities such as retailing antique and used goods, flowers, garden supplies, and watches and jewellery.
Core retail sales, which excludes the four vehicle-related industries, were also up 0.8 percent ($34 million), following a 0.5 percent increase in October 2009.
Other significant movements by industry included:
- department stores – up $11 million
- liquor retailing – up $9 million
- automotive electrical, smash repairs and tyres – up $9 million
- motor vehicle retailing – down $17 million.
The total retail sales trend is up 2.5 percent since February 2009 and it's growing at an average rate of 0.3 percent per month. Since February 2009, the core retail trend has increased at an average rate of 0.3 percent per month, compared with an average increase of 0.1 percent between April 2007 and February 2009.
The value of seasonally adjusted sales was flat in the North Island (up just 0.2 percent) and rose in the South Island (up 1.8 percent). The only region with a sales decrease was Auckland, down 0.5 percent.
In the Roy Morgan-ANZ poll, the attitude of consumers towards their own financial position a year ago rose 10 percentage points. A net 2 percent of families, however, thought they were worse off now. But this is is up from minus 22 percent in December.