Traditionally, increased shopping is visible in the pre-Christmas period. The latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (Gus) found out in December Retail sales in Poland were nominally at 16.9 per cent. Bigger than in the same period last year.
This is a significant increase, but it is due not so much to the increase in consumption itself, but rather to a large jump in prices. Inflation in Poland is about 9 percent.
Therefore, assuming constant prices, the dynamics of retail sales are not impressive. We’re talking about an 8 percent increase.
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Obviously, these results are weaker than economists’ previous expectations. The median forecast indicated an 18.5% increase in nominal sales (1.6 percentage points worse). A similar difference is seen in the case of selling at constant prices where experts expected the result at the level of 9.5%.
Among others, mBank experts. On the graph showing the dynamics of retail sales in recent years, the most recent results are marked. You can see that it is below the trend from 2013-2019, that is, before the pandemic.
November was much better than December in stats. At that time, the annual dynamics in both cases was about 4 percentage points. higher.
“The main reason is a return to the normal seasonal pattern of holiday spending (more in November, less in December). The previous year was disturbed by the closing of stores and showrooms throughout November” – Pekao economists commented on the latest GUS data.
They noted that sales in December were weak, not only in Poland. Earlier, sales in the USA and Great Britain experienced strong monthly declines.
Even before the CSO data was released, economists suggested that factors such as deteriorating consumer confidence and a shift (more broadly than in 2020) in holiday purchases from December to November were favorable to a slowdown in nominal sales growth.
Experts from PKO BP also commented on the new GUS data. They see higher demand from consumers, even though prices are rising quickly. They point out that December’s stats would have been better had it not been for weak sales of cars, furniture, RTV and home appliances.
– GUS data shows high sales turnover of apparel and semi-durable goods. Also, the loss related to the auto sector was slightly less than it was a month ago. On the other hand, the low increase in sales of RTV and household appliances was a negative surprise – admits Jakob Rybacki, an analyst at the Polish Economic Institute (PIE).
Nor is there any good news regarding possible January results. He believes that the first month of the new year will bring lower growth dynamics.
– We expect results close to 6-7 percent. Rybacki explains that this will be the result of a worsening pandemic, weaker growth in disposable income for consumers, and a general downturn in the economy.
He adds that economic factors will also speak of a slowdown in the coming quarters. Consumer research shows ever lower assessments of the economic and financial situation. The greatest pessimism appears among the wealthier families with the least propensity to consume. He estimates that trade growth in the first quarter will be close to the dynamics of GDP (4.6%).
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