KSH confirms retail sales jump, pace for record year


The Central Statistics Office (KSH) confirmed another month of outstanding year-on-year growth for retail sales in Hungary, specifically a 6.7% increase for February; for a little perspective, retail sales for the European Union was reported at 0.3% for the month. Taken at face value, Hungary showed the fourth-largest increase within the EU-28. 

However, BBJ again applies the asterisk with which these particular figures will seemingly henceforth always require: Since March 10, KSH has relied solely on data from the National Tobacco Sales Non-Profit (NTSN), the umbrella comptroller organization for the central government. While certainly NTSN would have little reason to cook the books on tobacco sales in Hungary, any decrease seen in the months post-national shop scheme will likely no longer be so evident.

Along with the official release of the statistics, KSH noted that “Except for a 0.3% increase in 2011, retail sales volume in Hungary dropped every year between 2007 and 2012.” With the favorable tweak now applied to retail sales, the 6.5% jump y.o.y. in January and February (each traditionally low-volume consumer-purchase months internationally) combined is certainly an indication that 2014 will ultimately see perhaps the greatest “rise” in Hungarian retail sales since the change in political system.

KSH reported that food sales rose 8.2% y.o.y. and 0.4% month-on-month; herein, food is defined as “food, drinks and tobacco,” a grouping that now comprises a reported 49.9% of all retail in Hungary.
For February, retail sales rose 0.4% month-on-month.

Sales at non-grocery outlets were reportedly up 4.7% y.o.y.; industrial goods rose 12.3%; clothing and footwear sales were up 9.0%; furniture and technical goods sales climbed 8.4%; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sales increased 1.4%.

Fuel sales were up 6.4% y.o.y. for February and stayed flat month-on-month.


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