Czech Empty Shopping Mall


Retail Sales Slide: Down 6% Year Over Year

Czech Economy, Prague

Prague, April 6 (CTK) – Czech retail sales, excluding motor vehicles, decelerated their annual growth to 6 percent in February, down from the revised 8.4 percent in January, and a rise in sales via mail order houses and via Internet had the biggest impact, the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) said today.


The 6 percent growth is still strong, however, the market had expected a higher number, Next Finance company analyst Jiri Cihlar said.


The slowdown is not surprising as February is usually one of the weaker months of the year, Komercni banka analyst Jana Steckerova said, expecting retail sales to increase in the following months.


Sales of non-food goods went up annually by 9.1 percent, sales of fuel rose by 7.6 percent and sales of food grew by 2.4 percent in February, the CSU said.


All major retail groups seem to have risen annually, CSU’s service statistics department head Marie Bouskova said.


Sale via mail order houses or via Internet grew by 21.6 percent.


There was an increase in sales of information and communication equipment, cultural and recreation goods, household equipment, dispensing chemist, medical and orthopaedic goods, and clothing and footwear.


At the beginning of this year, Czechs were taking advantage of after-Christmas deals, Cihlar said.


Retail sales in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating increased by 2.5 percent, while sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores increased by 1 percent.


Adjusted for seasonal effects retail sales stagnated in monthly comparison.


Non-food goods sales decreased by 0.4 percent, fuel sales by 0.8 percent, and food sales grew by 0.6 percent.


Sale and repair of motor vehicles dropped annually by 4.7 percent, and monthly and seasonally adjusted by 3.4 percent.


Car sales have been falling for a few months, with the automotive sector being dynamic and marking further retail development, Cihlar said.


Economists project record-breaking retail sales this year, with their increase at 6-7 percent.


Cihlar expects retail sales to grow by over 6 percent in the first half of 2018, decelerating significantly in the second.


Households spend more money of their increasing income than they save, which will likely continue for the rest of this year, Patrik Rozumbersky of UniCredit Bank said.


February retail sales data confirmed that household consumption significantly helped with the gross domestic product growth at the beginning of this year, Deloitte chief economist David Marek said.


Demand for luxury goods has been growing with household income, BH Securities chief economist Stepan Krecek said.