This year’s Retail Trade Survey paints a positive overall picture with steady growth for the first quarter of 2016. Retail spend remained steady as low interest rates, fuel prices and increased visitor numbers continued over the quarter.
The retailers that exceeded their sales targets were typically operating in recreational goods and clothing, footwear, and accessories. Positive influences appeared to be seasonal, with a long period of settled weather as well as number of long weekends and an early Easter.
A third of retailers didn’t meet their targets, however, with the majority being smaller retailers experiencing ongoing price pressure from larger retailers and offshore websites.
Retailers in rural sectors continued to be concerned about the flow-on effects of the dairy price downturn.
The period included end-of-tax-year stock takes coupled with the introduction of new health and safety legislation that took retailers away from their core business due to additional administration pressures.
Despite these pressures, as retailers met or exceeded sales targets there has been a growing sense of confidence, which is expected to continue over the next three months with 69 percent of retailers expecting to meet their targets next quarter.
A new season heralds new opportunities and challenges, with sports and camping retailers hoping to bolster sales with the arrival of the ski and hunting seasons, while apparel retailers are expecting sales to pick up on the back of a warmer than normal autumn.
As confidence is expected to grow over the next three months, employment intentions follow suit with 72 percent of respondents expecting to retain staff levels and 15 percent anticipating bringing on more staff.
By the numbers
Best performing categories (total value of sales):
- Non-store and communication based retailing up 9.8 percent to $366m
- Electrical and electronic goods up 3.7 percent to $808m
- Accommodation up 2.8 percent to $892m
Worst performing categories (total value of sales):
- Specialised food down 3.3 percent to $382m
- Liquor down 0.7 percent to $390m
- Hardware down 0.1 percent to $1.673b
- Auckland up 1.8 percent to $7.525b
- Waikato down 2.9 percent to $1.857b
- Wellington down 2.0 percent to $1.877b
- Remainder up 0.6 percent to $3.954b
- Total North Island up 0.4 percent to $15.213b
- Canterbury down 1.5 percent to $2.787b
- Remainder up 1.4 percent to $2.159b
- Total South Island down 0.3 percent to $4.946b