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Retail sales drop more than expected in Feb

Retail sales in Hungary dropped more than expected in February, but analysts told MTI the fresh data do not signal a turnaround.

Retail sales fell an adjusted 1.4% in February, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said early Tuesday, dropping year-on-year for the first time in about half a year.

Zoltán Árokszállási of Erste Bank said the February fall was bigger than the 0.1% decline he estimated before the data was published. He suggested the decline could be the result of changes introduced at the start of the year affecting payroll, noting that consumers spent their January paychecks in February.

Gergely Suppan, senior analyst at Magyar Takarékszövetkezeti Bank said the bigger than expected decline in February was in line with falling real wages and weakening consumer confidence. He said retail sales were likely to fall about 1% on average for the rest of the year .