The latest quarterly Retail Rader report from Retail NZ indicates retail performance slowed in the quarter ending March 31 2019, and retailers expect to combat this by increasing prices and employing fewer staff over the coming months.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford says 55 percent of retailers reported that they failed to hit their sales targets, putting the poor result down to business uncertainty and unpredictable summer weather.
"The positive performance of the sector in the December quarter has not carried on, with survey respondents reporting the worst performance reported in the Retail Radar survey since the third quarter of 2017," Harford says. "There is increasing economic and business uncertainty in the market, and consumer spending remains under real and sustained pressure. Additionally, the terrorist attack in Christchurch had a real impact on spending in that city during March."
Forty percent of retailers expect to increase their prices in the second quarter of 2019 in response to the increased minimum wage and overall cost of doing business. Some 30 percent reported that they planned to employ fewer staff over the next quarter.
Retailers remain optimistic, however, and expected performance to improve as the seasons change and school holidays kick in. However, retailers are pointing towards a continued lack of confidence in consumer spending, and are concerned about increased costs.