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Hungary: There’s light at the end of the tunnel

Food

Normal 0 21 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Normál táblázat"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} The decrease in the volume of retail turnover might come to an end at the end of August, and Q4 might see even some expansion, György Vámos, chief secretary of the national trade alliance (Országos Kereskedelmi Szövetség) told the daily Napi Gazdaság.

Unadjusted data show slowing decrease, while at current prices the turnover is increasing in all sectors. Food retail might recover as early as in August, clothes sector in fall, but durables sector not earlier than in November-December.

Data clearly show that the 17-month-long period of decline has fundamentally changed people’s consumption habits, say analysts. Families stopped buying things they do not need, do not spend on durables, tend to postpone procurements, and at the ends of the months they spend the minimum amount possible even on food. Several retail chains have adjusted their sales and marketing activities to the new trend, which, in turn, becomes even more prevailing by people making use of the offers.

The question is whether people resume spending money on food as readily, as they used to in 2005 and 2006. On the long run the current situation favors big chains, even though at present their sale figures fall short of those of small and mid-size shops, because puritanical consumption ups the risk of the extinction of small stores. This year there disappeared about 2,000 stores, with a major part of them being food stores.

True, admitted Vámos, the store network is much denser in Hungary than in the European Union, 163 places per 10,000 inhabitants. The government should be even more active in “bleaching” the economy, and should minimize the influence of the Far-East markets, which have a – mostly invisible – turnover of tens of billions of forints, said Vámos. (Napi Gazdaság)

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