Statistics New Zealand Upwardly Revises 1Q12 Retails Sales
06/13/2012| 12:14am US/Eastern
--NZ first-quarter real retail sales revised to -0.6% on quarter from -1.5% in prior release
--Adjusted retail sales revised to +0.1% on quarter from -0.8% in prior release
--Statistics NZ says revisions made due to changes in composition of first-quarter supermarket sample
By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON--Statistics New Zealand Wednesday made substantial upward revisions to first-quarter retail sales data after it was found supermarket sales figures were not representative, with the new figures indicating economic growth might have been better that previously expected.
Statistics New Zealand said following the revisions the volume of real retail sales fell 0.6% from the fourth quarter. That compares with the previous release which saw real retail sales fall 1.5% on the quarter. Fourth-quarter real retail sales rose 1.6%.
First-quarter sales including price changes rose a revised 0.1% compared with previous data that showed sales fell 0.8%. They rose 1.3 in the fourth quarter.
The New Zealand dollar was little changed following the revision of the data. It was trading at US$0.7770 at 0356 GMT compared with US$0.7767 prior to the data.
Statistics New Zealand Industry and Labour Statistics Manager Blair Cardno said the revisions were made after Statistics New Zealand received feedback from a number of economic commentators, querying the extent of the decline in sales volumes in supermarket and grocery stores.
"Additional information and investigation allowed us to determine we had a anomalous result, which did not reflect the economic reality and therefore needed to be revised," Mr. Cardno said.
The anomalous result is due to the composition of the first-quarter 2012 supermarket sample differing from previous quarters. Statistics New Zealand said the recent composition was a better representation that previous quarters.
Real retail supermarket sales were revised to a 3.1% fall from previously released data showing a 7.4% fall.
While the data is an improvement on that previously released, New Zealand's retail sector has remained sluggish. However, the fall in real retail sales is partly due to sharp rises in the third and fourth quarter of last year as the Rugby World Cup, held in New Zealand in September and October, attracted large numbers of visitors.
Statistics New Zealand said the Reserve Bank of New Zealand had been informed of the issue, although not the magnitude of the change, ahead of the release to the public to assist it with the "finalization of the Monetary Policy Statement" due Thursday.
Continued sluggish household spending will further boost economist expectations that the RBNZ will hold its official cash rate at 2.50% until at least next March.
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