New Zealand retail sales surge, but still below Pre-Pandemic levels
Retails spending in New Zealand showed signs of recuperation as figures rose in May. However, these numbers still remain below the usual levels before the pandemic disrupted major economic activities.
Debit and credit card purchases on retail outlets hit 78.9% in April, according to Statistics New Zealand released on Wednesday in Wellington. The upbeat figure was a surge from the previous 47.5% drop in April and a 3.2% plunge in March. Despite the surge, the NZ$9.3 billion worth of spending was still 9% short of February sales.
The restrictive measures in the country were lifted on May 14, giving the retail industry room for recovery that had been disrupted for seven weeks (save for supermarkets and other essentials outlets).
The prospect for a sustained retail spending surge is still in limbo as New Zealand is still facing other pressing pandemic-impelled challenges including unemployment and tourism decline.
The data showed that much of the increase in spending was contributed by the hospitality sector with a NZ$640 million in May, which is still 41% lower than February figures.