The retail sales volume index (chart) slowed down to a 0.6% y/y annual growth rate in August, the statistics office reported. The seasonally adjusted index remained rather flat at 0.1% m/m growth for the third month in a row, at a level close to that seen in November 2022.
The sales index in the 12-month period to August increased by 2.9% y/y, the slowest rate since March 2021. Historically, the seasonally-adjusted sales in August were 20% higher compared to the average 2019 level, with a stronger (+29%) advance of the non-food sales.
Non-food retail sales, typically reflecting consumer confidence, slowed down to 0.5% y/y in August – the second-slowest rate since the COVID-19 lockdown after April 2023 (-1.2% y/y). Food sales increased by 1.9% y/y (+1.6% m/m) possibly as the government’s scheme aimed at capping the prices came into force and food prices indeed dropped by nearly 2% m/m (+4.6% y/y). Car fuel sales remain moderate (-1.1% y/y) at a level close to those seen in early 2022 despite the visible comeback (+2.9% m/m, seasonally adjusted terms) in August.