Auckland retail sales average $1.3 billion/month this year on 10%-plus rises
Retail sales rose 2.6% (seasonally adjusted) March to April, according to Statistics NZ on Friday. Excluding the car trade, the rise (seasonally adjusted) was 1.7%.
But the seasonal adjustment was hard to make, Statistics NZ said. The widespread growth could be attributable to Easter, with both Good Friday & Easter Sunday falling in March, cutting March trade and increasing April’s trading days. Because the last time Easter fell in March was in 1997, the impact of these extra trading days was hard to quantify.
As I’ve written before, I don’t like Statistics NZ’s seasonal adjustments for the building industry, which is better compared against the same period of the previous year. And I’m wary of seasonal adjustments when you’re told the adjustment is hard to quantify.
So, back to the actual figures — and, for March-April, perhaps a look at 2 months together over 3 years.
The Statistics NZ website shows lots of these figures very quickly, and helps you if you don’t have the software to read the pages. The retail statistics have a subtotal excluding vehicle sales & services, and an all-stores total. The vehicle services figures were outrageously high through much of 2000-01 (a 24.7% rise in August 2000 over August 1999 was the biggest shift) before falling back to 3 monthly falls at the end of 2001 and rises of less than 3% in the first quarter of this year.
Car trade booming
But in April 2002 vehicle services, like many other retail categories, were well up. Vehicle services rose 7.3% on April 2001, and car sales were up 26.7% (ahead of a change in rules affecting older Japanese imports).
Nationally, car sales rose $129 million to $610 million, April compared to April. In Auckland, the rise was $40 million to $215 million.
Excluding car retailing & services, March sales rose $179 million to $2.914 billion, up 6.6%, and April sales rose $243 million to $2.854 billion, up 9.3%. Including the car trade the overall sales for April rose 11.3% to just over $4 billion.
Combining the 2 months’ figures so the timing of Easter doesn’t matter, the total retail trade was worth $7.552 billion in March-April 2001, rising to $8.21 billion this year, an 8.7% increase.
In Auckland, retail sales were worth about $1.1 billion/month in 2000 (and another $300 million at Christmas), mostly above $1.2 billion through 2001 ($1.585 billion in December), and averaging $1.3 billion in the first 4 months of this year, with monthly rises above 10% 3 times & 5.6% in March.