Polish consumers seem to be going back to stores, as the country’s data on retail sales offered up some hopeful figures. Retail sales in Poland grew by 4.3 percent year-on-year and by 3.8 percent month-on-month in July, according to data published by statistics office GUS at the end of August. Economists surveyed by the Polish Press Agency had expected retail sales to grow by just 2.7 percent y/y and 2.4 percent m/m.
The figures follow in a parade of good or slightly better-than-expected data recently that show Poland may be recovering after a year and a half of lethargic growth. Poland’s gross domestic product grew at a rate of just 0.5 percent in the first quarter of this year and 0.8 percent in the second quarter, according to GUS. In 2012, it grew at a rate of just 1.9 percent.
Source: Central Statistical Office
The improvement in retail sales in July was driven by double-digit growth in automotive sector sales (14.4 percent), as well as higher sales of food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
In an e-mailed comment, economists from Bank Zachodni WBK pointed out Poland was indeed seeing a rebound in private consumption, which was confirmed by a 4.5 percent growth in retail trade turnover, a data point which unlike retail sales also includes small shops’ results.
Domestic consumption was one of the biggest factors that helped Poland weather the global economic crisis without going into recession – the only EU country to have managed that feat. However, as Poland’s economy began to slow last year, consumers began to hold their wallets closed. Retail sales dropped dramatically from 14.3 percent year-on-year growth in January 2012, to -2.5 percent in December.
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