December retail sales volume falls
Retailers took 2.3 per cent more at the till in December last year, than they did in the same month a year earlier.
But sales volume, which is adjusted for inflation, fell by 0.3 per cent — the fourth successive month to see a year-over-year decline.
Five of the seven sectors recorded falls in sales volume in the Christmas month that is so critical for many retailers.
Apparel stores recorded the largest decrease of 3.8 per cent. The next largest sales volume decreases were for liquor and food-store sales which declined by 3.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.
Motor vehicle sellers saw receipts rise 11.7 per cent during December, while building materials stores took in 0.9 per cent less.
In value terms, retail sales increased 2.3 per cent to an estimated $111.3 million. Returning residents declared overseas purchases valued at $7.3 million, which was 12.3 per cent higher than December 2016. This contributed to a combined local and overseas spending of $118.6 million.
Excluding Sundays, there were 24 shopping days during the month, one less than in December 2016.