Hungarian retail trade falls in May, but shows signs of recovery

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According to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office, retail trade in Hungary fell by an adjusted 2.1 percent in May compared with the same month of 2019, but officials are confident that barring a resurgence of coronavirus cases the sector will have fully recovered by June, conservative daily Magyar Hírlap reports.

Detailed data shows that in May, food retail rose by 1.8 percent, non-food retail also rose by 0.7 percent and in fact the overall decline was due to a sharp, 13.8 reduction in fuel sales. In the first five months of the year, retail rose by 1.5 percent year-on-year.

Analysis of the data also showed that without the intervening pandemic, retail volume would have increased by 6.5 percent, but the restrictions put in place resulted in an 8.6 percent decline, with the sum of the two giving the overall 2.1 percent fall.

State minister for labor market, Péter Cseresnyés said that despite the May decline, retail trade already began a recovery in that month from the low registered in April and by June trade figures should level out. He also pointed out that despite the very bad April data, retail volume in the first five months was able to rise by 1.5 percent.

He said that current forecasts indicate that if there is no serious setback in the coronavirus pandemic, which would entail major restrictions, retail would recover both its pre-pandemic volume and growth dynamic.

The silver lining is that due to the restrictions in shop opening times, online retail in May rose a whopping 50 percent year-on-year in May after a 103 percent increase in April.

Title image: Shoppers in Hungary.(source: Magyar Hírlap)

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