New Zealand retail sales rose more than expected in the June quarter as people spent a record amount on cars and auto-parts since the series began in 1995.
The total volume of spending rose a seasonally adjusted 1.3 per cent to $NZ17.25 billion in the three months ended June 30, according to Statistics New Zealand, led by a 7.3 per cent boost in expenditure on motor vehicles and parts.
That outpaced the 0.7 per cent growth forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. The volume of spending on fuel fell 2.6 per cent in the period, its second quarterly decline.
Stripping out motor vehicle related spending, core retail sales climbed 0.9 per cent.
In value terms, which accounts for both volume and price movements, spending rose 1.1 per cent to $NZ17.62b, with core retailing up 0.7 per cent.
The kiwi dollar rose to 81.06 US cents after the report was released, from 80.92 cents immediately before.
Retailers have had to contend with tepid consumer demand over the past couple of years as households put more of their discretionary spending into repaying debt rather than hitting the stores. That's seen an increase in discounting as stores compete for market share.
The seasonally adjusted volume of spending at supermarkets and grocery stores, which accounts for 23 per cent of retail sales, rose 0.3 per cent in the June quarter, with values up 0.7 per cent.