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Hungary retail sales edge up 0.6% in January

Retail sales in Hungary grew a calendar-adjusted 0.6% in volume terms in the twelve months to January 2012 and were down 0.2% from December according to data adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Monday.

The January year-on-year rise slowed down from a slightly upward revised 1.6% increase in December. The monthly decline followed a 0.1% increase in December.

2011 retail sales were up 0.2% from a year earlier, rising the first time since 2006.

In nominal terms, retail sales were worth HUF 561.5 billion in January, down from HUF 823.3 billion in December and up from HUF 518.1 billion a year earlier.

Car and car part sales, which, in line with EU methodology, are not part of the retail statistics, were up 10.6% yr/yr in January, boosted by a reduced car registration tax and a low base, KSH reported. They rose for the first time after many months, by 1.4% yr/yr, in November. 2011 car and car part sales were still down 4.5% from 2010.

Sales of vehicle fuel, which is included in retail statistics, dropped a calendar-adjusted 2.2% yr/yr in January, slightly less than in December. They dropped yr/yr each month of 2011, bringing last year's average fall to 2.3%. Fuel sales rose a seasonally and workday-adjusted 0.8% on the month after falling 0.3% in December. Before January, they last rose, at 0.8%, in September.

Turnover in shops selling food, beverages and tobacco rose an adjusted 0.2% on the month in January after falling 0.1% in December and was up 1.1% yr/yr after rising just 0.2% in December according to calendar-adjusted figures. They grew 0.4% in 2011.

Non-food sales were down, in contrast, by 0.3% on the month after monthly rises in the previous three months, including a 0.3% increase in December. They rose 2.0% yr/yr in January after increasing 4.2% yr/yr in the previous month.

Within the non-food segment, sales were down on the month in the furniture and construction material segment (1.4%), in pharmaceuticals and medical goods (5.2%) and in the segment of mail orders (19.7%), and rose 1.7% in the case of cosmetics products.