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KSH: Decline in Retail Sales Slows as Lockdown Lifted

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.07.06.

Retail sales in Hungary fell by an annual 2.8 percent in May, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said.

The decline slowed from a 10.2 percent drop in April as a lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus was gradually lifted.

Hungary Inflation Falls to 3.9% in March, says KSH

Adjusted for calendar year effects, retail sales fell by 2.1 percent year-on-year in May. Adjusted food sales increased by 1.8 percent, non-food sales edged up 0.7 percent and vehicle fuel sales dropped by 13.8 percent.

The data show sales of medicine and healthcare products dropped by 16.9 percent because of stockpiling in March as the lockdown loomed. Medicines sales in March jumped by 54.2 percent.

Online and mail-order sales were up 49.2 percent, after doubling in April, during the lockdown.

Sales of clothing and shoes dropped by 40.2 percent, a sign of recovery after plummeting 89.8 percent in April.

In absolute terms, retail sales came to 993.6 billion forints in May.

For the period January-May, retail sales rose by an unadjusted 1.4 percent and an adjusted 1.5 percent. Adjusted food sales increased by 5.9 percent, non-food sales were up 1.5 percent and vehicle fuel sales dropped by 11.3 percent.

Analysts expect improvement in coming months

Takarékbank chief analyst Gergely Suppan said retail sales in the coming months could be lifted by a 500,000 forint bonus some 170,000 healthcare professionals got in June, and by pay rises for teachers from July. He put full-year growth at 1.2-1.5 percent.

ING Bank senior analyst Péter Virovácz said June retail sales could improve further as households make purchases they earlier postponed.

Photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI.