Poland: Growth in retail sales eases but remains strong
June 22, 2011
In May, retail sales expanded 13.8% over the same month last year, below the 18.6% increase in April but above market expectations of a 13.1% rise. Lower sales of food as well as clothing affected the reading, as both components of the retail sales index grew at a slower pace in May. On a monthly basis, retail sales decreased a non-seasonally adjusted 1.1% over the previous month (April: +2.3% month-on-month), hence confirming the slowdown implied by the annual figures. Nevertheless, the trend suggests that retail sales remain on an expansionary path, with annual average retail sales increasing from 8.8% in April to 9.6% in May and continuing to climb from the trough of October 2009. Falling unemployment levels (May: 12.2%; April: 12.6%) help to boost retail sales, as a higher level of employment translates to a higher discretionary income that can be freely spent on goods and services. In addition, relatively low interest rates encourage consumer borrowing, further fuelling retail sales.