Lithuanian retail sales grew an unadjusted 3.8% y/y in April, data released by Statistics Lithuania on May 26 showed.
The reading marks a slowdown on the 6.8% expansion seen the previous month, but still keeps shop turnover on a growth track that has persisted since the start of 2015.
Sales grew 4.5% on the year on a working-day adjusted basis, slower than the 6.5% growth in March. Month to month, sales fell an adjusted 0.6%, while recording a fall of 1.1% in unadjusted terms.
As has been the case for months, an improving labour market and growing income are driving turnover. Consumption is a major plank in maintaining economic growth, as Lithuania pushes to find new export markets to replace weakened sales to Russia.
With industry and investment now perking up, consumption's persistence may offer enough momentum to put the economy on a stronger path this year. Economic expansion came in at 2.2% in 2016, but growth picking up speed to adjusted 4.1% y/y in the first quarter.
Lithuanian GDP is expected to grow 2.9% in 2017 overall, with momentum aided by the return of investment projects co-financed by the EU. The rebound in investment is set to compensate a likely slowdown in consumption growth, the EU executive predicts.
Annual growth in shop turnover was largely driven by the sale of motor fuels, which expanded 9.3% on an unadjusted basis, while sales of textiles, clothing and footwear grew 5.9%. Sales of food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products expanded 2.2%. Most retail segments recorded growth in unadjusted annual terms in April, to the tune of €825.6mn.