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Retail sales up 5.3% in August

Retail sales in Hungary climbed 5.3% in August compared to the same month a year earlier, slowing from a 6.9% year-on-year increase in July, show data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Thursday.

Calendar-adjusted data show retail sales were up 5.8% year-on-year in August. Adjusted sales in specialized and non-specialized food shops were up 3.4%, non-food sales climbed 9.8%, and vehicle fuel sales were up 4.3% year-on-year.

Within the non-food segment, sales rose in non-specialized shops dealing in manufactured goods (12%), books, computer equipment and other specialized items (5.4%), furniture and electrical goods, and textiles, clothing and footwear (both 4.3%), and pharmaceutical, medical goods and cosmetics (3.8%). In contrast, the volume of sales in second-hand goods shops fell by 0.9%.

Online and mail order sales jumped 46%, but still accounted for only around 5.6% of total retail sales.

Sales of motor vehicles and vehicle parts, which are not included in retail sales, climbed 14%.

In absolute terms, sales in the national retail network, as well as in mail order and internet retail, totaled HUF 1,076 billion in August.

Food, drink and tobacco stores accounted for 46% of all retail sales, while the relevant figures for non-food retail shops and the network of petrol stations were 37% and 17%, respectively.

In January-August 2019, retail sales rose 5.8%, according to both unadjusted and calendar year-adjusted data. Adjusted food sales rose 3.2%, non-food sales climbed 8.7%, and fuel sales increased 7.0%.

ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz told state news agency MTI that calendar year-adjusted sales rose at the same rate in August as in January-August, showing a continuing trend. Favorable labor market conditions are supporting householdsʼ propensity to spend, in spite of increasing uncertainty on external markets, he added.

Takarékbank senior analyst Gergely Suppan augured a 5.8% increase in retail sales for the full year. Growth could be supported both this year and next by a wave of home building and the impact of expanded government measures supporting families with children, he added.

Retail trade figures for September will be published on November 6.