NZ retail sales on electronic cards rises 0.5 percent in November, beating estimates

New Zealand retail spending on debit, credit and charge cards rose more than expected last month, stoking optimism for a fourth-quarter rebound in fourth-quarter sales after a surprise decline in the third quarter.

Electronic card transactions rose 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted in November, following a 0.4 percent increase in the previous month, according to Statistics New Zealand. Actual sales rose 6.2 percent in November from the same month last year. Sales beat a Reuters survey forecast 0.4 percent monthly gain for a 4.6 percent gain in the year.

The biggest increases were for hospitality, such as accommodation, bars, cafes and restaurants, up 2.6 percent, and durables, ranging from furniture to household appliances, up 1.6 percent, the government statistician said.

The electronic sales data comes after figures last month showed retail sales volumes fell 0.4 percent, seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in the third quarter, among figures that had economists fretting third quarter gross domestic product due out on Dec. 20 will print weaker than expected.

The November figures follow “broad-based growth in October transactions, setting Q4 up for solid growth,” UBS economist Robin Clements said in a brief initial assessment.

Transactions for core retail groups, which exclude motor vehicle-related industries, rose 1 percent in November, seasonally adjusted after a 0.3 percent gain in October.

Fuel was the only category to register a decline, dropping 0.8 percent.

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