Retail sales climb 3 percent in July

Retail sales in Hungary rose by an annual 2.5 percent in July, or 3.0 percent when adjusted for calendar year effects, preliminary data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Friday show.

The increase slowed from 6.2 percent in the previous month. Retail sales have risen for four consecutive months after eight months of decline, KSH said.

Adjusted food sales increased by 3.7 percent and non-food sales were up by 2.6 percent. Vehicle fuel sales rose by 1.9 percent.

In January-July, retail sales were up by a calendar-year-adjusted 2.1 percent, KSH said.

Commenting on the data, a government official said the Hungarian retail sector is starting to recover from pandemic-related lockdowns. Peter Cseresnyes, a state secretary of the innovation and technology ministry, said that government measures resulting in 4.7 million jobholders, wages averaging above 400,000 forints (EUR 1,100) and higher minimum wages left money with Hungarians to spend on themselves. Barring another strong wave of the pandemic, the current moderate growth is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, he said. Growing vaccine acceptance is key to that process too, he added.

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