KSH: Hungary’s retail sales up 4.4% in April

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Retail sales in Hungary saw a year-on-year rise of 4.4% in April, following a rise of 6.5% in March, preliminary data released by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) today reveal.

Adjusted for calendar effects, the volume of sales rose by 1.6% in food, drinks and tobacco stores, by 7.8% in non-food retail trade and by 9.3% in automotive fuel retailing, KSH said. In January-April 2015, the volume of sales – also according to calendar adjusted data – was 6.4% higher than in the corresponding period of the previous year, the report added.

KSH noted that legislation requiring most big retailers to remain closed on Sundays came into force in mid-March, but said that more time and data were needed to measure the effects of the new rule.

Analysts queried by news agency MTI said retail sales growth could continue, but the pace of the increase will probably slow down in the remaining part of the year.

Gergely Suppan of Takarékbank said retail sales growth could continue at its current strong pace thanks to ongoing employment and real wage growth and stable consumer confidence, though the pace of the increase could slow down in the second half of the year due to the high base.

Dávid Németh of K&H Bank noted that the unadjusted data show a slowdown in retail sales growth in April. He said it would be too early to draw any conclusions but it seems that the acceleration seen in the spring months of previous years did not happen this year, which could be partly due to the introduction of Sunday shop closures.

Vivien Barczel of Erste Bank Hungary said retail sales growth was mostly due to non-food and vehicle fuel sales this month. She said retail sales growth should continue in the remaining part of the year and household consumption could become the main driver of GDP growth.

The second reading of data is scheduled to be published on June 25.

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