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Retail sales down 2.1% y.o.y. in May

In May 2020, the volume of sales in retail shops decreased by 2.8% according to raw data and by 2.1% when adjusted for calendar effects compared to the same period of 2019, according to data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH).

The decline in retail sales was slower than in April. KSH says that sales were influenced by the lifting of lockdown restrictions during the month. This mostly influenced the turnover of non-food retail shops.

The volume of sales, adjusted for calendar effects, rose by 1.8% in specialized and non-specialized food shops, by 0.7% in non-food retail shops, and decreased by 13.8% in automotive fuel retailing. In January–May 2020, the volume of sales – also according to calendar adjusted data – was 1.5% higher than in the corresponding period of the previous year.

KSH says that declining retail sales in May 2020 were largely driven by the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, with epidemic emergency causing an 8.6 percentage point decrease, turning the estimated 6.5% increase without the epidemic into a 2.1% decline. The volume index for non-food retail shops was 11% lower, while automotive fuel retailing was 19 percentage points lower than previously estimated. Food store sales were only slightly affected by the impact of coronavirus.

In May 2020, sales in the national retail trade network as well as in mail order and internet retailing were HUF 994 billion at current prices. Food, drinks, and tobacco stores accounted for 49% of all retail sales, while the relevant figures for non-food retail shops and the network of petrol stations were 39% and 12% respectively.

In the first five months of 2020, compared to the same period of the previous year, adjusted for calendar effects: the volume of retail sales increased by 1.5%. The volume of sales rose by 5.9% in specialized and non-specialized food shops, by 1.5% in non-food retail trade and decreased by 11.3% in automotive fuel retailing.