Romania’s retail sales post impressive 6.6% y/y advance in January

Romania’s retail sales post impressive 6.6% y/y advance in January
/ bne IntelliNews
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest March 7, 2024

Retail sales in Romania (chart) increased by 6.6% y/y in January, one of the highest rates in the post-COVID period and four times the revised average growth in 2023 (+1.6% y/y), according to data released by the statistics office INS.

In seasonally adjusted terms, Romania’s retail sales marked an impressive 3.8% m/m advance from December. Private consumption is expected to be a major growth driver in Romania this year and the January figures are fully consistent with this.

The annual growth figure was dragged down by the sluggish sales of car fuels (+1.6% y/y) and the combined sales of food and non-food goods surged by +7.7% y/y in January. In seasonally adjusted terms, the advance was +4.1% m/m.

Non-food sales, a good indicator for households’ confidence, surged by 12.2% y/y (+8.0% m/m), nearly 10pp more than the 2.8% y/y average advance seen in 2023 (notably revised downward from +3.8% y/y). The performance comes after the net average wage topped the €1,000 threshold in December and the average net wages increased by +8.2% y/y in real terms, in Q4.

Food sales increased by only 2.7% y/y (+0.1% m/m) in January, compared to a 3.5% y/y average advance in 2023.

Sales of car fuels increased, in seasonally adjusted terms, by 3.8% in December-January – but they are still only 1.6% higher than they were in January 2023 and 0.8% lower than in January 2022.