Media Releases

Retail sales remain buoyant but pressures remain

2 June 2021.


Retail sales remained buoyant through May according to the latest Retail NZ Sales Index, but there continue to be real pressures on retailers.

“The Retail NZ Sales Index shows that sales in May were up 37 per cent compared to May last year, and 30 per cent compared to May 2019,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ Chief Executive said today. “The Retail NZ Sales Index is one measure of retail spending, and records average daily sales per site at some Retail NZ members.

“The relatively positive results mask significant challenges across the retail sector, however, with some businesses underperforming. Those businesses performing below average include central city retail sites in the main centres, where customer foot traffic remains down as people work from home; and those in tourist centres such as Queenstown and Rotorua.

“While it is positive to see strong spending from New Zealanders, retailers are also facing substantial cost increases. There have been significant increases in the Minimum Wage over the past few years; the cost of managing employee sick leave is set to double as a result of recent Government changes; the cost of freight has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and there substantial electricity price increases looming. All of these factors create significant challenges for retailers, and we will start to see price increases flowing through to customers over the coming months.”

The Retail NZ Sales Index can be found here.


For further information, please contact:
Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ
[email protected]
027 243 2842


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