Polish retail sales grew 7.8% y/y in constant prices in August, the fastest annual growth this year to date, statistics office GUS announced on September 19.
The reading well beat July’s growth of 4.4% y/y, reinstating hope the Polish economy can shed the recent worries over somewhat weakened growth in the second quarter and recent major indicators. In monthly terms, retail sales grew 1.4%, slower than 0.2% monthly expansion in July. At current prices, growth pushed to 5.6% y/y and 0.8% m/m.
Sales grew in most retail segments on an annual basis in constant prices. The quickest gain came in textiles and shoes with a healthy 18.8% annual expansion, followed by the 17.6% gain in the automotive segment.
No segment post an annual fall in retail sales in August, GUS data also showed. Sales of food, drinks, and tobacco products increased 4.3%, while fuel sales expanded 3.6%, a second month of growth after a long-time falling trend.
The robust growth keeps private consumption on track as a major pillar of the overall economy, as was the case in 2015. However, analysts suggest the surge in August still does not reflect the much-hyped and hoped for effect of the government's child benefit payments introduced in April. “Instead of sales growing in selected segments, we rather see a broad and steady increase [across segments],” BGK notes.
Meanwhile, BZ WBK suggests consumption may not prove able as a cure all. The bank points to falling investment and fading dynamics in exports as likely drags on GDP growth for the year.