Polish retail sales grew 5.2% y/y at constant prices in February, statistics office GUS announced on March 17.
The reading marks a sharp slow down on the 9.6% expansion recorded in January, but remains a good result given that February was one working day shorter than last year. It suggests consumption, pushed by the tightening labour market, continues to be the main driver of economic growth at the start of the year.
With consumption largely left on its own to lead economic expansion last year, GDP growth disappointed at 2.8%. However, alongside the strong retail sales data, a solid reading for industry released the same day suggests exports can up their game this year. Investment looks to remain on the ropes, as the construction sector's output declined in February.
In monthly terms, retail sales declined 2.8% in February. At current prices, growth pushed to 7.3% y/y and dropped 2.7% m/m.
Sales grew in all retail segments on an annual basis at constant prices. The quickest gain came in the textiles, clothing, and shoes segment, where sales expanded 13.2% on the year. The pharmaceutical segment saw sales grow 12.5%. No segment experienced a decline in sales in February, with the weakest growth coming in the food segment, at 0.7%.