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New Zealand retail sales miss expectations

Staff writer |
Retail spending in New Zealand increased in the fourth quarter, boosted by fuel retailing and clothing, footwear and accessories, but was below estimates.

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The volume of real retail sales rose 1.2% in the fourth quarter compared with the third, Statistics New Zealand said Monday. The median forecast in a Wall Street Journal poll of 11 economists was for a rise of 1.6%.

When price changes are included, fourth-quarter sales were also 1.2% higher from the third quarter; economists had expected a rise of 1.8%.

"Nine of the 15 retail industries had higher sales volumes in this latest quarter," Blair Cardno, industry and labour statistics manager at Statistics New Zealand, said. Economists continue to expect the retail sector to improve as economic growth picks up and the Christchurch rebuild accelerates after a series of devastating earthquakes.

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