Retail spending in pharmacies and hospitality boost December sales

Robust spending on pharmaceuticals, duty-free goods, and food services boosted overall spending in the December 2018 quarter after a subdued September quarter, Stats NZ said today.

After adjusting for price and seasonal effects, total retail sales volume rose 1.7 percent in the December 2018 quarter after a modest 0.3 percent rise in the September 2018 quarter.

Sales volumes grew a record 8.2 percent for pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, and a record 4.2 percent for food and beverage services in the December 2018 quarter. However, these large increases followed sizeable falls in the September 2018 quarter for both industry groups.

The pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing industry includes sales from chemists (such as cosmetics and medicine products), health supplement stores, duty-free stores, pet shops, and stationery goods outlets.

“We’ve seen increases in a number of store-types in this category,” retail statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

“Increased visitor numbers to New Zealand could be a factor in higher sales for both of these industries, such as sales for duty-free outlets and food service operators,” Ms Chapman added.

More than half a million visitors arrived in New Zealand in December 2018, breaking the previous December 2017 monthly record .

QuarterVolumeValue
Dec-130.90.9
Mar-140.90.8
Jun-141.31.2
Sep-141.81.4
Dec-141.71.1
Mar-152.21.5
Jun-15-0.30.1
Sep-1521.8
Dec-151.10.9
Mar-161.10.7
Jun-161.82.2
Sep-161.31.5
Dec-161.32
Mar-171.72.4
Jun-171.31.3
Sep-170.80.8
Dec-171.11.4
Mar-180.20.2
Jun-180.91.2
Sep-180.30.8
Dec-181.71.8

Sales values lifted by hospitality and food groups

When the effects of price changes are included, the seasonally adjusted value of total retail sales rose 1.8 percent ($432 million) in the December 2018 quarter, after a 0.8 percent ($192 million) rise in the September 2018 quarter.

Of the 11 industries to record higher sale values, the top four increases mostly came from the hospitality and food industries:

  • food and beverage services, up 5.0 percent, ($143 million)
  • pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing, up 10.2 percent ($142 million)
  • supermarket and grocery stores, up 1.7 percent ($89 million)
  • accommodation industry, up 3.8 percent ($40 million).

The combined value of the two food-related industries contributed more than 40 percent to the core retail (excluding vehicles and fuel) total. Supermarket and grocery stores are the largest group accounting for 28 percent, and food and beverage made up a further 16 percent of the core total sales.

In actual terms, the value of total retail sales was $26.3 billion in the December 2018 quarter, up 4.5 percent ($1.1 billion) on the December 2017 quarter.

/Stats NZ Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.