New Zealand retail sales volumes accelerated more than expected in the second quarter, led by hardware and building supplies.
Retail sales volumes rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 per cent in the second quarter, from a revised 0.3 per cent gain in the first quarter, Statistics New Zealand said. That's higher than the 0.4 per cent gain expected by economists and the New Zealand dollar lifted around 0.3 per cent to trade at 67.07 US cents.
"This quarter had growth in a number of industries, some of which had fallen last quarter," Stats NZ retail trade manager Sue Chapman said. Hardware and building supplies had the largest increase in the quarter, up 4.7 per cent.
"Consumer spending is humming along with trade and DIY customers boosting sales in the hardware and building supplies sector," she said.
"Interestingly, we also saw higher regional growth for the Auckland, Waikato, and Wellington regions in this construction-related industry."
Eleven of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in the second quarter. After building supplies, the next-largest rises were for food and beverage services, up 1.7 per cent, and department stores, up 2.8 per cent.
Of the four retail industries that fell in the latest quarter, supermarket and grocery stores registered the largest decline, down 1.1 per cent, followed by fuel which was down 0.7 per cent.
When the effects of price changes are included, the seasonally adjusted value of total retail sales rose 1.3 per cent in the June quarter, after a modest 0.3 per cent rise in the March quarter, the statistics agency said.
In actual terms, the total value of retail sales in the second quarter was $22.9 billion, up 3.8 per cent, or $834 million, from the same period in 2017.