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Retail sales up by 10.7% y-o-y in March


Retail sales at current prices grew by 10.7% y-o-y in March, a deceleration compared with the previous month, according to data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The result is slightly better than market expectations, which averaged 10.4% y-o-y.

In comparison with the corresponding period of 2011, sales were up in all of the main branch specialisations except newspapers, books and other sale in specialized stores, which declined by 4.5% y-o-y. The highest increase was noted in sales of furniture, radio, TV and household appliances (up by 19.2% y-o-y), followed by other retail sale in non-specialized stores (up by 17.7% y-o-y). Double-digit sales growth, or close, was also recorded in the remaining categories. Thus sales of fuels and textiles, clothing and footwear went up by 14.4% y-o-y, sales of motor vehicles, motorcycles and parts rose by 11.8% y-o-y, sales of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and orthopaedic equipment increased by 9.9% y-o-y and food, beverages and tobacco products by 9.8% y-o-y.

In January-March 2012 retail sales at current prices rose by 12.7% y-o-y.

Retail sales in Poland (%, y-o-y),March 2011-March 2012

Whilst the high sales increase in March is undoubtedly evidence of Poles’ continued strong propensity to spend on consumption (consumer sentiment in Poland is weak but it has not deteriorated any further over the past few months), in our view it was boosted by pre-Easter buying (Easter fell in early April this year, which pushed more holiday sales into March) and by a lower base of comparison. In April, which was characterised by a very high comparative base, retail sales are likely to have slowed significantly. And though the Euro 2012 football championships co-hosted by Poland are set to stimulate consumption in the second quarter of the year, we forecast that in 2012 as a whole retail sales growth will slow to 9.8%, weighed down by high inflation and unemployment rates, sluggish growth of the wage bill, tougher access to credit, and fears of an economic downturn.

Paweł Sionko

Senior Economist

PMR Publications

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