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Hungary retail sales volume drop slows

Retail sales volume in Hungary continued to contract at a slower rate in June, dropping a calendar year-adjusted 2.2% compared to the same month a year earlier, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Tuesday. The fall was less than the twelve-month 4.2% in May and 4.0% decline in April, breaking a five month trend when retail sales decline have accelerated.

Twelve-month retail sales have fallen every month since February 2007.

In a month-on-month comparison, retail sales rose 0.5% in June compared to a 0.4% drop in May, according to seasonally- and calendar-year-adjusted figures.

January-June sales volume fell 3.2% from H1 last year.

The retail sales data include turnover of vehicle fuel from January 2009, in line with changes to revised EU statistical classifications.

Retail sales of cars and vehicle spare parts, which are not part of the retail sales index, fell 38.8% in June and were down 31.7% in H1 from a year earlier, KSH said.

Fuel sales rose a calendar year-adjusted 2.5% in June from the same month a year earlier after a 0.4% decline in May, and were up 0.9% yr/yr in the first half. In a month-on-month comparison, fuel sales rose a calendar year- and seasonally adjusted 0.7% after remaining flat in May. While overall retail sales have dropped in a month-on-month comparison in each month since August, with the exception of January and June, fuel sales have risen or stagnated since December, with the exception of a drop in April.

Retail food, beverage and tobacco sales fell an adjusted 3.8% in June from the same month a year earlier, the second-biggest twelve-month drop since the autumn. The drop in sales had slowed since April. In a month-on-month comparison, food, beverage and tobacco sales fell 0.6% in June after falling just 0.1% in May and stagnating in April. January-June sales fell 2.6% from the same period a year earlier.

As in the previous twelve months, supermarket sales accounted for 91% of FMCG sales. FMCG sales at specialised shops rose 1% in June from the same month a year earlier.

In a twelve-month comparison, non-food retail sales fell less than food sales, by an adjusted 2.6% in June following a steep 8% fall in May. In a month-on-month comparison, non-food sales rose 2.9%, the biggest increase in twelve months on the back of a 2.5% climb in May. January-June sales still slipped 5.9% from the same period a year earlier.

Within non-food sales, sales of furniture, construction material and household goods rose 14.5% in June in a month-on-month comparison, climbing for the first time in twelve months to bring sales volume back to levels in June 2008. Other groups registering month-on-month rises included book and newspaper sales (1.3%) and mail order sales (2.7%). Sales of non-food products at non-specialized shops fell 2.2% in June after rising every month since January. First-half retail non-food sales at supermarkets dropped 9.2%.

Hungarian retail sales, at current prices, totaled HUF 629 billion (€2.3 billion) in June and amounted to HUF 3,356 billion in H1. Food and FMCG sales accounted for 46% of retail turnover in January-May. (MTI-ECONEWS)