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HomeNEWSSeptember retail spending cools on the lead up to Christmas

September retail spending cools on the lead up to Christmas

Retail spending cools as consumer uncertainty is blamed for the flat lining of profit for September. 

Cooling house prices and consumer uncertainty have been pinned as the cause for just a 0.1 percent rise in retail spending on credit and debit cards.

Total spending, including non-retail industries, fell 0.1 percent, having risen 0.6 percent a month earlier.

According to Stats NZ, the cooling of consumer spending has been significant in recent months, even down since the start of the year.

Westpac chief economist Michael Gordon said consumer spending in New Zealand tends to link strongly with our housing market.

“The slowdown in spending is consistent with the cooling in house prices over the last year. In the absence of a renewed fall in interest rates, we expect the housing market, and therefore growth in consumer spending, to remain subdued over the next couple of years.”

Although the housing market is being held as culprit, according to Stats NZ in both 2015 and 2016 retail spending has dropped around this time of year, albeit not as dramatically. A possible explanation being the slow of spending as consumers save up for Christmas shopping which usually picks up in November.

The figures show that annual apparel spending fell 1.1 percent, Hospitality spending fell 0.2 percent.

Although a dip in some of our largest markets, card-holders across all industries still made 137 million transactions in September versus 139 million in August. The average value was steady at $48.

Stats NZ data says that last year retail figures in the last quarter of 2016 rose by 0.6 percent, after a slow start in October. This may be an indication of an expected increase of retail sales this year as Christmas shopping draws closer. 

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