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Retail sales in Hungary climbed 3.0% in May from the same month a year earlier, decelerating from a 8.5% growth in April, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) shows. Calendar-adjusted data show retail sales were up an annual 2.6% in May. Adjusted food sales were up 1.0%, non-food sales climbed 4.8% and fuel sales were up 0.8% year on year. In the non-food segment, adjusted sales of clothing retailers fell 2.1%, sales of second-hand goods were down 7.1%, and sales at chemists climbed 2.7%. Sales of book and computer shops were down 1.7%. Sales in furniture shops increased by 0.1%. Online and mail order sales rose by 38%, but still accounted for around 5.8% of total retail sales. Sales at petrol stations were up 0.8%. In absolute terms, retail sales came to 1,015 billion forints (EUR 3.1bn) in May.
In January-May, calendar year-adjusted retail sales rose by an annual 5.8% while unadjusted sales were up 5.9%. Adjusted food sales rose by 3.0%, non-food sales climbed 8.4% and fuel sales increased by 8.0%.
K&H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said retail sales could grow by 5-5.5% this year and noted that the drop in the pace of sales increases in May came as a surprise and it remains to be seen if it was a one-off event or not. Analyst Gergely Suppan of Takarékbank said that in spite of the slowdown in May, retails sales could continue to rise at a fast pace in 2019, increasing by 5.5% compared with last year’s 6.5% increase. Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said the May slowdown fits into a trend of decelerating sales increases seen since the start of 2018. The fact that sales growth slowed in all segments reinforces the impression that the slowdown is a part of a pattern, he said.