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Accommodation spending low but eating out recovers

Retail card spending rose in September 2020 compared with August as the Auckland region moved from COVID-19 Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2, with a few extra restrictions, Stats NZ says.

"Retail spending rallied in September as Auckland moved down to COVID-19 Alert Level 2, plus extra restrictions, at the start of the month and the rest of New Zealand dropped to Alert Level 1 later in the month," retail statistics manager Kathy Hicks says.

In actual terms, retail spending using electronic cards was $5.7 billion in September 2020, up $389 million (7.3 per cent) from September 2019.

In September 2020, retail spending rose in four of the six industries with higher sales of long-lasting goods such as furniture, hardware and appliances, (durables) and supermarket grocery food and liquor (consumables).

Furniture, hardware, appliances, and recreational goods (durables) experienced the largest rise, up $250 million (19 per cent) compared with September 2019.

"Increased spending on longer-lasting goods, coincides with Auckland businesses re-opening at the start of September, after having to close during this region’s Level 3 lockdown which started on August 12," Kathy says.

"More flexibility in working from home as well as a lift in domestic tourism has seen a boost in spending on the home (or home office) and on sports and camping equipment."

Supermarkets, specialised foods, and liquor stores (consumables) had the second largest increase, up $206 million (10 percent) on the same month last year.

"Spending on groceries has remained strong since March as supermarkets were an essential service that stayed open throughout the lockdowns,"

Hospitality was up $113 million (13 per cent) compared with August 2020 but was still $52 million (4.9 per cent) lower compared with the same month last year.

"The school holidays occurring in the last week of September saw a boost in domestic travel and tourism spending," says Kathy.

"While eating out has increased throughout September, the accommodation spending remains low due to the lack of international visitors."

Accommodation spending low but eating out recovers has more information on card spending on hospitality, durables sub-industries, and health care.

Actual retail card spending using electronic cards was $17 billion in the September 2020 quarter, up $953 million (5.9 per cent) compared with the September 2019 quarter.

"Spending on groceries and the long-lasting goods have driven the overall increase in the September quarter spending," says Kathy.

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