New Zealand retail spending on electronic cards gained in September as the hospitality sector bounced back as the start of spring attracted more tourists.

Retail spending rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9 per cent last month, turning around a 1.2 per cent decline in August, with bars and restaurants benefiting from strong tourist numbers, Statistics New Zealand said. Actual retail spending climbed 6.1 per cent to $4.75 billion in September from the same month a year earlier, with fuel the only sector to register a decline, reflecting cheaper petrol prices.

Hospital spending, which spans accommodation as well as food and beverage, rose 16 per cent to $885 million from a year earlier, its fourth month of double-digit growth. On a seasonally adjusted basis, hospitality spending was up 2.5 per cent, turning around a decline in August.

"The hospitality spending increase coincides with an increasing number of international visitors to New Zealand," Statistics NZ business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said in a statement.


Tourism has been a boon for New Zealand's economy with record numbers of visitors spurring consumer spending. That's combined with rapid net inbound migration to boost aggregate demand in the economy, helping offset tepid growth on a per capita basis.

Today's figures show spending on consumable items rose 5.3 per cent to $1.73 billion in September from a year earlier, and was up 0.8 per cent in the month, while durable items expenditure was 5.6 per cent higher than a year earlier at $1.14 billion to register a 2.9 per cent monthly increase. Spending on apparel rose 5.6 per cent to $271 million from September 2015, with a 2 per cent gain in the month.

Spending on fuel fell 3.8 per cent to $562 million from a year earlier, while spending on vehicles rose 7.4 per cent to $159 million.

The total value of electronic card spending including the two non-retail industries - non-retail excluding services and services - rose 6.3 per cent to $6.39 billion from September 2015, and the number of transactions across all industries rose 7.3 per cent to 130 million with an average transaction value of $49.