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Rising wages, Sunday openings said to drive up retail

Retail

The improvement in retail figures announced today can be put down to “the increase in real wages and the lifting of the ban on Sunday-closings,” according to Gergely Ürmössy, lead analyst of Erste Bank Hungary.

The Sunday shopping hours at places like the MOM Park shopping center, is said to have spurred retail trade.

According to Ürmössy, the 6.8% year-on-year increase in turnover at retail stores reported by Hungary’s Central Statistical Office today was driven by consumers who are making purchases they had been delaying.

“This is reflected by the dynamic growth of sales in the non-food retail segment, which has been able to maintain speed,” Ürmössy said. “And we shouldn’t forget about the consumer confidence index, which has been very stable in the past few months.”

Spending power has grown along with real wages, which Ürmössy noted are expected to surge 7-8% this year. He added that the impact of the end of the Sunday shopping ban, which was lifted earlier this year, should not be underestimated, either.

“I am positive that lifting the ban did add to retail growth, as now people have more time to shop. I expect the trend to continue with an average monthly growth of 5-6% in the retail segment,” the expert said.

Gas stations are also among the winners in the spending trend, as fuel consumption did exceptionally well and contributed to the overall retail growth to a large extent. “The 9% growth of fuel sales is another indication that households have a significantly more room to spend than before,” Ürmössy said.

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