Polish retail sales fell 0.3% year-on-year at constant prices in January (chart), the growth rate slowing once again after an already feeble expansion of 0.2% y/y the preceding month, the statistics office GUS said on February 21.
The reading is below the consensus, which expected a feeble gain of 0.3% y/y. Analysts take that as the start of many months with falling sales, the turnover now no longer disguised by the influx of Ukrainian refugees.
Retail sales are expected to be in the negative territory for the “next four quarters in response to a decrease in the purchasing power of the population's income”, PKO BP said in a comment.
Poles’ wallets are also thinner as they used up most of the savings accumulated during the pandemic lull, analysts also say. Finally, the statistical effect of the arrival of over one million war refugees from Ukraine will be no longer affecting the figures this year.
The overall picture – supported by other high-frequency data published this week – points to Poland’s economic growth at no more than 1% in 2023, most analysts say.
Sales of textiles, clothing and footwear grew the fastest in January, expanding 15.7% y/y in January, the breakdown of GUS data showed. That represented a pick-up against an expansion of 7.2% y/y the preceding month.
Turnover in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics segment increased 4.5% y/y in the first month, easing against a gain of 7.6% y/y in December.
Sales of furniture, audio and video equipment and domestic appliances added 1.4% y/y in January after falling 10.4% y/y in December.
Elsewhere, sales declined. Most notably, food sales fell 1.7% y/y in January after growing 1.9% y/y the preceding month.
Fuel sales dwindled 12.3% y/y in January (-7.8% y/y the preceding month) while car and car parts sales retreated 1.7% y/y (-2.8% y/y in December).
Sales fell an unadjusted 23.1% month-on-month at constant prices after falling 13.1% m/m the preceding month.
Retail turnover also grew 2.7% m/m in January following seasonal adjustment (-2.8% m/m in December).
At current prices, retail turnover expanded 15.1% y/y (+15.5% y/y in December); in m/m terms there was a fall of 22.8% (+12.9% m/m the preceding month).