New Zealand's Consumer Confidence Improving Slowly, Warehouse Group Says

New Zealand consumer confidence is slowly improving, according to Warehouse Group Ltd., the nation’s largest discount retailer.

“We see recovery, but it’s likely to take time,” the company said in a presentation to investors in Auckland today. Notes from the presentation by Chief Executive Officer Ian Morrice and Chief Financial Officer Luke Bunt were sent to the stock exchange.

Warehouse Group said last month sales fell 1.9 percent in the three months ended May 2 as entertainment spending slowed and warm weather reduced demand for winter heating and clothing. Consumer confidence rose for a third month in May, according to an index compiled by Roy Morgan Research and ANZ National Bank Ltd.

Consumer sentiment may hinge on more jobs in the economy, which will buoy incomes and offset a likely increase in interest rates later this year, the Auckland-based company said.

A lag is expected between improving business confidence and a major shift in employment sentiment, it said. Employment intentions rose last month, according to a separate ANZ National survey published on May 31.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

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