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Retail sales in Hungary grew by 5.3% in August from the same month a year earlier, slowing from a 6.9% increase in July, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said.  Calendar-adjusted data show retail sales were up an annual 5.8% in August. Adjusted food sales were up 3.4%, non-food sales grew by 9.8% and vehicle fuel sales were up 4.3%. Online and mail order sales jumped 46%, but still accounted for around 5.6% of total retail sales. Sales at petrol stations were up 4.3%. Sales of motor vehicles and vehicle parts, which are not included in retail sales, climbed 14%. In absolute terms, retail sales came to 1,076 billion forints (EUR 3.2bn) in August. In January-August retail sales rose by 5.8% according to both unadjusted and calendar year-adjusted data.

Commenting on the data, Péter Cseresnyés, state secretary for trade policy and consumer protection at the innovation and technology ministry, said retails sales have been rising significantly for over six years now. Speaking to public news channel M1, the state secretary attributed much of the increase in retail sales to rising household disposable incomes. This is in part thanks to rising wages, which has also helped boost household savings, he added. ING Bank chief analyst Péter Virovácz noted that the calendar year-adjusted sales rose at the same rate in August as in January-August, showing a continuing trend. Favourable labour market conditions are supporting households’ propensity to spend, in spite of the increasing uncertainty on external markets, he added. Takarékbank senior analyst Gergely Suppan augured a 5.8% increase in retail sales for the full year. Growth could be supported both this year and next by a wave of home inaugurations and the impact of expanded government measures supporting families with children, he added.