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New Zealand retail sales rise in Q2, boosted by international sports events

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand retail sales volumes jumped 2 per cent in the second quarter, beating expectations and boosted by high-profile international sporting events attracting a flood of tourists to the country.

The quarterly seasonally adjusted rise put sales volumes 5.4 per cent higher on the year, Statistics New Zealand data showed on Monday.

The result pointed to a pick up in gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter after six months of slower-than-expected growth. Second quarter GDP data is due out on Sept 21.

The news sent the New Zealand dollar to a four-day high of US$0.7331, up from around US$0.7308 before the announcement.

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Foreign sports fans travelling to New Zealand for the World for Masters Games held in April and tour by the British and Irish Lions rugby team in June provided a windfall as they splashed out on accommodation, food and drinks.

"This gives us comfort that after the last couple of GDP disappointments, we'll see some rebounds from that," said Philip Borkin, senior economist at ANZ.

Consumers also spent vigorously on electronics and cars, highlighting consumer confidence.

Economists had been forecasting quarterly seasonally adjusted retail sales volumes growth of 0.7 per cent, expecting results to moderate after the robust 1.5 per cent lift in the first quarter.