Romania’s retail sales up 4.5% y/y in April despite lower car fuel sales

By bne IntelliNews June 4, 2014

Retail sales in Romania increased by 4.5% y/y in April – with the annual expansion rate decelerating visibly from the 9.3% growth saw in Q1, according to statistics office data. Nonetheless, the growth rate remains robust with its slowdown partially attributed to households buying in advance car fuels in late March before the April 1 excise tax hike.

Adjusted for the pattern in the car fuel sales, the retail sales kept rising significantly, continuing the trend seen over the past year – after they more or less stagnated around the lower 10% level of the pre-crisis peak reached in 2008. Overall retail sales are still below the pre-crisis peak, but if the upward trend remains in place, they might fully fill in the gap by the end of the year.

Food sales actually performed better than in Q1 on average – recording a 10.6% y/y increase in April vs the 6% y/y hike in Q1, while indeed the non-food sales growth eased down to only 5.9% y/y in April from the outstanding growth rates seen in the previous two quarters [13.1% y/y in Q1 and 6.8% y/y in Q4].

DATA CONFIRM CAR FUEL PURCHASE IN ADVANCE. Indeed, car fuel sales contracted in April, versus March, by 6.6% in absolute terms and by 16.2% in seasonally-adjusted terms. Car fuel sales were visibly stronger-than-usual in March [32.8% up m/m, unadjusted data] reflecting the fuel purchased in advance for the month of April.

Retail sales index 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Q1-14 Apr-14
Total -9.7% -6.6% -2.0% 2.9% 0.5% 9.3% 4.5%
Total, swda* q/q, m/m n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 4.9% -3.2%
A. Food stores -3.8% -9.6% -6.8% 2.4% -0.1% 6.0% 10.6%
B. Non-food stores -8.1% -9.0% 1.7% 1.6% 3.6% 13.1% 5.9%
C. Car fuel -19.7% 3.3% -1.6% 6.2% -3.6% 7.2% -6.1%
Source: INS, *seasonally and workday adjusted

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