The total volume of New Zealand retail sales rose 2.7% for the March 2015 quarter, which is the largest percentage increase since December 2006, according to the Retail Trade Survey by Statistics New Zealand.
When compared with the December 2014 quarter, electrical and electronic goods retailing recorded the largest volume increase, up 8.9%.
Retail NZ announced the results showed a significant 5.1% increase in retail spending in the first three months of 2015, compared to the previous year.
"There was growth in all core retail categories, with significant growth in electrical and electronic goods up a seasonally adjusted 6.5% in value," says Greg Harford, Retail NZ general manager public affairs.
"The start of the year is traditionally a busy time for retailers as students return to school and university.
“We’re pleased to see Kiwi customers choosing to shop locally for electronic items such as laptops and tablets which are now required items in many school and universities.
“This means that customers not only get the tools they need to study, but also benefit from New Zealand warranties and the Consumer Guarantee Act,” he says.
Harford also acknowledged the challenges global online stores brings to traditional retailers.
“The internet means that Kiwi retailers operate in a global, competitive marketplace - and our domestic retailers and online stores continue to be disadvantaged by unfair rules that mean that they have to pay GST and duty on their sales, while these taxes aren’t usually charged on goods bought from foreign websites,” he says.
“The government must take action and close the GST and duty loophole to even the playing field for all domestic retailers,” Harford says.
Retail NZ is running an #eFairnessNZ campaign asking the government to require foreign websites to register for New Zealand GST, and make sure that GST and duty is collected on all goods crossing the border that are worth less than $25.