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Petrol sales fuel encouraging quarterly retail increase

Mar 4th, 2013 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

FUEL SALES have driven the best December quarter retail sales volumes in seven years.

The value of petrol sales jumped by $134 million – or 7.2% – from the previous quarter, says Statistics New Zealand’s quarterly Retail Trade Survey.

The sales increase was due to a rise in the volume of fuel sold – up 7.7% – which is the largest quarterly increase in six years.

A record increase in car sales last year, and holiday season travel, could have been behind the rises, says Mark Stockdale, senior policy analyst for the New Zealand Automobile Association,

“It is usual to expect to see an increase during the holiday period,” he says.

“In December, more people are going away so we see a spike in driving, and fuel consumption.”

Last around 100,000 new cars were sold, while over 70,000 used cars were imported to New Zealand.

“This is a rise on previous years so it means there are more cars on the road, and travel will have increased as the year progressed,” says Mr Stockton.

Mr Stockton says the increase in car sales is a reflection of low interest rates and our high dollar making purchasing and importing a car more affordable.

Statistics New Zealand’s Retail Trade Survey indicates other industries are also looking up.

The total value of New Zealand retail sales rose by 1.7% in the December quarter, while the 2.1% rise in total sales volumes is the highest quarterly increase since December 2006.

Of the 15 retail industries surveyed, 12 have increased sales volumes and 11 have increased sales values.

The South Island fared well with a 1.9% rise, compared to the North at 1.3%.

Reconstruction in Christchurch is driving up retail sales in the South Island, according to Blair Cardno from Statistics New Zealand.

“This is the second large increase in a row for the hardware, building, and garden supplies industry, which was again boosted by stronger-than-usual sales in Canterbury,” Mr Cardno says.

This is reflected in the hardware, building and garden supplies sectors increase of 4.3%, the second significant quarterly increase in a row.

The quarterly retail increases follow a long term upward trend in retail sales from a low point in 2009, and are an improvement on the September quarters 0.8% decline.

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