Media Releases

Retail NZ unsurprised by economic downturn 

16 March 2023

Retailers across the country have already been experiencing an economic downturn well before today’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures. 

“Today’s GDP figures showing a 0.6 per fall in the size in the New Zealand economy, including a 1.9 per cent reduction in retail sector GDP will be no surprise to retailers who have been experiencing a significant downturn in sales in-store and online across the country” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.  

“The decline in GDP in the December quarter is representative of what the sector has been communicating since mid-last year. In the same period, Retail NZ’s Retail Radar found that while 63 per cent of retailers had expected to hit their sales targets for the quarter, only 34 per cent managed to achieve this.” 

“The significantly soft results in a key period for retailers across New Zealand, has led to a pessimistic outlook for the sector going forward. Half of all retailers are not expecting to meet sales targets in the current quarter, and 30 per cent are not confident their business will survive the next 12 months.”

“The first two and a half months of 2023 have been incredibly tough for retailers. Significant weather events, a downturn in consumer confidence, inflation being impacted by domestic factors like wage increases, supply chain, and supplier price increases – demonstrate the seriousness of the challenges faced by the sector.”

“New Zealand retailers employ more than 220,000 Kiwis, as the biggest employer in the country, with over 28,000 retailers operating to support communities with goods and services. Many are doing it tough and require settings that bring down the influences of domestic inflation, support operations through removal of undue regulatory costs and an economic environment that means kiwis can shop with their local retailer.” 

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