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Retail sales up by 18.6% y-o-y in April


Retail sales at current prices grew by 18.6% y-o-y in April, a sharp acceleration compared with the previous month, according to data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The result well exceeded market expectations, which were for an increase of about 15% y-o-y.

In comparison with the corresponding period of 2010, sales were up in all of the main branch specialisations. The highest increase was noted in other retail sale at non-specialist retail stores (up by 45.8% y-o-y), followed by textiles, clothing and footwear (up by 35.1% y-o-y), fuels (up by 20% y-o-y), and pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and orthopaedic equipment (up by 19.8% y-o-y). Double-digit growth also occurred in sales of furniture, radio, TV and household appliances (up by 17.9% y-o-y), food, beverages and tobacco products (up by 11.6% y-o-y) and motor vehicles, motor cycles and parts (up by 11% y-o-y). The only category to post single-digit growth (albeit in the high single digits) was newspapers, books and other items at specialist stores, which went up by 9.2% y-o-y.

In the first four months of 2011 retail sales at current prices rose by 12.1% y-o-y.

Although the surge in retail sales observed in April – the highest increase in more than three years – is clear evidence of continued recovery of private consumption, it should be remembered that the result can be partly explained by low base effects. In 2010 Easter fell at the very beginning of April, which meant that Poles did much of their pre-Easter shopping in March. Then there was the collapse in retail sales caused by the crash of the presidential plane in Smolensk and the period of national mourning that followed it. Though in the remainder of 2011 the reference base will not be as favourable, the nominal pace of retail sales growth should remain around 10% y-o-y in the coming months, thanks to a stronger recovery on the labour market and the associated improvement in the financial situation of households.

Paweł Sionko
Senior Economist
PMR Publications

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