New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards edged up in May, led by consumer spending on household essentials such as groceries and fuel.
Seasonally adjusted total retail spending on credit and debit cards rose a modest 0.4 percent in May following a substantial 2.2 percent fall in April, Statistics New Zealand said. Core retail spending, which excludes vehicle-related industries, rose 0.4 percent in May following a 2.1 percent fall in April.
"Retailers outside the realm of food and fuel trading have had a relatively quiet month with half the retail industries showing falls,” Stats NZ retail trade manager Sue Chapman said. “Spending on personal and household services and non-retail industries including travel, health, and wholesale also dropped in May.”
Card spending rose in three of the six retail industries in May. Consumables spending, which covers grocery and liquor retailing, rose 1.4 percent in May, rebounding from April's 3.6 percent fall. Spending on fuel advanced 0.9 percent, and spending on apparel such as clothing, footwear and accessories slipped 1.8 percent.
Today's figures show actual total retail spending using electronic cards increased 4.2 percent in May to $5.2 billion compared with the same month a year earlier.
Card-holders across all industries made 146 million transactions in the month, up from 139 million in April. The average value of $49 was unchanged on the month and the year.
Stats NZ said it has accessed updated information from its suppliers and revised published data from June 2017 through April 2018 after the unusually large drop in April's figures. At the time of the data release last month, the agency said the results could be affected by changes in consumer behaviour, payment methods, or the way the electronic card transactions were processed.
"We regularly review electronic card transactions data received and examine inconsistent results to ensure releases are economically representative of retail spending in New Zealand," the agency said today.