Romania’s retail sales index jumped by 8.7% y/y in February after another significant advance of 5.3% y/y in January, the statistics office reported. The good performances in Jan-Feb indicate that, unless sales have dropped dramatically in March, their annual performances has consolidated from the 3.6% y/y gain posted in Q4 last year.
Without any fundamental grounds, except maybe low interest rates and retailers’ drive for cash flow, the sales seem to have firmly expanded above the steady levels seen in the past year and a half prior to Q4 2013.
NON-FOOD SALES GROW AT STEEPER RATES. The sales’ expansion in February as well as in the past months was driven by the non-food sales – which increased by 13.2% y/y in February, 9.5% y/y in January and 6.8% y/y in Q4 – each time by 3-4pps steeper than the average sales index and by 4-5pps steeper than the rise in food sales.
The seasonally- and workday-adjusted sales index increased by 1.3% m/m in February after the 2.3% m/m advance in January. After nine months of consecutive improval of the monthly performances, the index is some 8-9% above the level of the previous quarters – which was the same level as before mid-2010, when the fiscal austerity measures were enforced. Compared to the peak level before the crisis, achieved in June 2008, the sales are still 11.5% smaller, however.
|Retail sales index||2010||2011||2012||2013||Q4-13||Jan-14||Feb-14|
|Total, swda* q/q, m/m||n.a.||n.a.||n.a.||n.a.||1.5%||2.3%||1.3%|
|A. Food stores||-9.6%||-6.8%||2.4%||-0.1%||1.7%||5.0%||5.7%|
|B. Non-food stores||-9.0%||1.7%||1.6%||3.6%||6.8%||9.5%||13.2%|
|C. Car fuel||3.3%||-1.6%||6.2%||-3.6%||0.7%||-2.6%||5.0%|
|Source: INS, *seasonally and workday adjusted|
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