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Number of retail units falls, bigger shops prevail

Retail

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The number of retail shops in Hungary fell 3.5% from a year earlier to almost 129,000 in 2016, according to a summary released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH). The number of retail shops in Hungary has been falling steadily since 2013 for a variety of reasons.

Factors behind the falling number of retail shops include the restructuring of the tobacco trade, the online connection of cash tills to the tax office, and the mandatory Sunday closure of shops, which was in effect for more than a year from March 2015, notes state news wire MTI in summarizing the KSH data.

The biggest fall took place in the category of non-food retail shops, with food retailers and filling stations showing a lesser decline.

In addition to retail shops, there were also 6,000 tobacco shops and 2,400 pharmacies operating in Hungary at the end of 2016.

The number of vehicle and vehicle part shops, which do not constitute part of the retail trade sector, was almost 8,000 at the end of 2016, down by 1,048 from the end of 2010.

While the number of units with an area of less than 120 square meters, as well as those between 120 sqms and 1,000 sqms in area, has been falling almost continuously since 2012, the number of shops larger than 1,000 sqms has shown a steady increase, the KSH data show.

An increasing proportion of shops across the country are operated by enterprises as opposed to self-employed individuals. Apart from filling stations, the number of retail units operated by Hungarian-owned businesses fell by 13.2% between 2010 and 2016, while the number of shops operated by foreign companies was down by 9.3%.

The combined sales area of retail units in Hungary was 15.4 million sqms at the end of 2016, down by 300,000 sqms from the end of 2010. The average size per retail unit rose to 120 sqms from 110 sqms at the end of 2010.

Due to a ban on the establishment of retail units with an area of more than 300 sqms in effect since January 2012, from which it is nevertheless still possible to acquire an exemption, only eight new shopping malls have opened in Hungary since the end of 2010. There were 122 shopping malls operating in the country last year, including 41 in Budapest. The number of hypermarkets was 163, including 22 operating in the capital.

In terms of settlement types, 83% of all retail shops in Hungary were located in Budapest and in other cities and towns, together accounting for 70% of the population, with just 17% of shops found in villages. In a comparison of counties, an outstanding number of shops can be found in Budapest (23%) and Pest county (11%).

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