Slovak retail sales increased for the fourteenth straight month in December, with annual growth accelerating to 4.3% from 2.4% the previous month, data from the country’s statistics office showed on February 4.
The result leaves Slovakia's full year 2014 retail sales showing an increase of 3.6%. The main driver of growth last year was a 6.5% rise in retail sales in non-specialised stores.
On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, retail sales inched up by 0.3% in December, after falling 0.2% the previous month.
Growth in December was supported mainly by a 7.7% annual increase in sales in non-specialized stores. However, turnover of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores dropped 5.1% on the year.
The ongoing rise in domestic demand is expected to support economic growth over the next couple of years. Both the country’s central bank and the finance ministry have recently raised their GDP forecasts due to expected increasing demand and lower energy prices.
They now expect Slovakia’s economy to expand by 2.9% in 2015 and 3.6% in 2016. The central bank expects household consumption growth to accelerate to 2.8% this year from 2.1% in 2014, before slowing to 2.7% in 2016.
In the autumn edition of its European Economic Forecast, the European Commission said it expects private consumption to continue its upward trend this year and in 2016, rising by 2.3% and 3.1% respectively.
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