Polish retail sales grew 9.6% y/y at constant prices in January, statistics office GUS announced on February 17.
The reading marks a clear acceleration on the 6.1% expansion recorded in December, although a two extra working days in January had an effect. Still, the result suggests consumption remains in rude health – backed by fast-growing wages - and can continue to drive economic expansion.
The result provides a good start to the first quarter of 2017. With consumption largely left on its own to lead economic expansion, GDP growth last year disappointed at 2.8%. However, alongside the strong retail sales data, strong readings for industry and construction released the same day suggest exports and investment can up their game this year.
In monthly terms, retail sales crashed 22.3% in January, however, that is a standard rate of decline following the Christmas rush. At current prices, growth pushed to 11.4% y/y but dropped 22.1% m/m.
Sales grew in all retail segments on an annual basis at constant prices. The quickest gain came in the fuels and pharmaceuticals segments, which grew 17.2% and 17% on the year. Sales in the automotive segment expanded close to 14%, while food sales gained 2.8%.