Hungarian retail sales shrug off Sunday shopping ban to accelerate in April

By bne IntelliNews June 3, 2015

Hungarian calendar-adjusted retail sales grew 5.3% on an annual basis in April, accelerating from 5.1% in March, statistics office KSH reported in a preliminary estimate released on June 3. The reading was a touch below market expectations for a rise of 5.4%.

The April data is the first to fully take into account the Sunday shopping ban that came into force in mid-March. The stronger growth indicates the ban did not negatively affected aggregate consumer spending, though it might be blamed for a sharp slowdown in food retail sales growth, analysts at Capital Economics point out.  

Food sales rose just 1.6%, easing from a 4% hike in March. “The much weaker food sales figure indicates that the ban may have led to a shift in consumer spending patterns. As we suggested, food and beverage spending in supermarkets was among the expenditure most likely to be affected by the ban,” the analysts wrote in a note.

Growth in sales of non-food products, on the other hand, quickened to 7.8% from 5.6% a month earlier. Fuel sales also grew at a faster pace, rising by 9.3% after advancing 8.7% in March.

In cumulative terms, Hungary’s retail sales grew 9.6% in the first four months of 2015. The statistics office will release detailed data on June 25.

The ongoing robust growth in retail sales suggests household consumption contributed strongly to first-quarter GDP growth. Flash data released by the statistics office last month showed the economy expanded 3.4% on the year and 0.6% on the quarter in Q1. KSH is due to announce a second estimate of first-quarter GDP data on June 5.

Related Articles

Hungarian unions in full gear for first country-wide strike at Tesco stores

Union leaders are preparing for the first country-wide strike at Tesco stores in Hungary, which has unanimous support from workers, local media reported on September 4. This is just the latest in ... more

Russian development bank IIB signs off on debut Hungarian credit facility

The Moscow-based International Investment Bank (IIB) announced on August 9 that it has signed off on its debut credit facility in Hungary. The Russian-led IIB decided around five years ... more

Central Europe’s factories remain busy despite a summer lull in PMIs

Manufacturers in Central Europe reported a step back in activity and confidence in July, purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) released by IHS Markit on August 1 showed. While, the indicators still ... more