While October's retail results suggested that the retail sector was coping with the coronavirus crisis relatively well, in November these hopes faded as most stores had to remain closed. Sales in retail trade decreased 7.0% year-on-year at constant prices; after adjusting for the disadvantage of fewer working days, they decreased 5.3%. In a month-on-month comparison, retail sales decreased 5.6% in real terms after adjusting for calendar effects. After including sales and repairs of motor vehicles, sales after working days adjustment decreased 11.3%, without adjustment 14.1%.
In a month-on-month comparison, the 10.4% decline in sales of non-food goods played a major role. However, food sales also fell slightly (0.8% mom). The view of yoy statistics is woeful. The closure of stores was reflected in a drastic drop in sales in clothing and footwear stores of almost 78%. Products for culture, sport, and recreation fared slightly better, where sales fell 37.1% yoy. However, food sales were also lower by almost 30%.
Given the restrictive measures, it is not surprising that the largest increase in sales was recorded in retail trade via the Internet and mail-order services (36.5%). However, even this segment was not able to compensate for the decline in sales due to the closure of shops.
The brief easing of restrictive measures in December, together with Christmas fervor, bodes that December's retail sales could turn out significantly better. The efforts of carmakers to sell out cars that will not meet stricter emissions limits, gives hope for sales growth in this segment, as well. Even so, for the entire final quarter of last year, we expect a decline in retail sales of 7% compared to the same period in 2019. For the whole of this year, we expect retail sales to show slight growth of 0.8%.
Economic and Strategy Research
13th April 2021