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Retail sales growth accelerates to 6% in May

Retail sales growth accelerates to 6% in May

BUDAPEST: Retail sales in Hungary climbed an annual 6 percent in May, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a second reading of data released on Monday. Retail sales rose 5.5 percent when adjusted for calendar year effects. The pace of retail sales growth accelerated from an unadjusted and adjusted 3.2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, in April.

Retail sales growth in May was highest since June 2016. The unadjusted figure for May was revised upwards from 5.4 percent and the adjusted figure was unchanged from the first reading published on July 5. Adjusted food sales were up by 2.3 percent in May, non-food sales climbed 10.3 percent and fuel sales increased by 4.3 percent. In the non-food segment, unadjusted sales of clothing retailers rose by 8.7 percent, sales of second-hand goods increased by 2.9 percent and sales at chemists were up by 5.4 percent. Sales of book and computer shops combined rose by 14.5 percent. Sales in furniture shops rose by 8.2 percent. Retail sales of vehicles and spare parts, which are not part of European retail trade statistics, were up by 6.1 percent. Adjusted sales of clothing retailers were also up by 8.7 percent, sales of second-hand goods edged up by 0.4 percent, sales at chemists rose by 4.2 percent, sales of book and computer shops climbed by 13.8 percent, sales of furniture shops rose by 6.9 percent. In absolute terms, retail sales came to 854 billion forints (EUR 2.8bn) in May. In a seasonally and calendar-adjusted month-on-month comparison, retail sales were up by 1.7 percent in May, with food sales up by 1 percent, non-food sales up by 2.4 percent and fuel sales up by 2 percent a month. In the first five months of the year compared with the same period a year before retail sales were up by 3.7 percent according to unadjusted figures and rose by 3.5 percent according to adjusted data. Adjusted food sales for January-May were up by an annual 2 percent, non-food sales climbed 6 percent and fuel sales rose by 3 percent. Commenting on the data, economy ministry state secretary István Lepsényi told public television that retail sales growth is expected to remain stable, in part thanks to government measures to hike wages.

The ministry said in a statement that retail sales have been growing for 47 months in a row. It attributed this to a six-year agreement signed last year between the government, unions and employers to increase the minimum wage and cut payroll taxes. This has increased households’ incomes, resulting in growing consumption, the ministry said.