Booming retail trade

The retail trade volume grew by a whopping 6140403_Kisker_EN.7% in February against the same month of 2013, according to both unadjusted and working day adjusted data. Apart from the one-off jump in last November, this is the highest year-on-year growth since early 2007. All three main categories boasted substantial growth rates, albeit with marked differences. Non-food sales grew by 4.4% while automotive fuel sales grew by 6.7%, and the volume of sales of food, drinks and tobacco expanded by as much as 8.4%.

The growth rate of food, drinks and tobacco was substantially boosted by the recent tobacco 140403_Kisker_EN_2sales-related methodology change. This methodology change altered the data retrospectively, since July 2013, raising the growth rates in the food, drink and tobacco sales and, consequently, in total retail sales as well.

The retrospectively higher growth rates in late 2013 suggest that even if the very high growth in January-February is to abate in the coming months – which seems less likely now than it had seemed a month earlier – that lower growth rate is still likely to remain near to or above 5%. The accelerating growth of real wage disbursements seems to affect household spending more substantially than it was previously thought. It is hard to say at the moment, however, how the retail boom will be reflected in the expenditure side of GDP statistics (i.e. how higher  retail trade will be translated into economic growth).