Non-food retail sales in Romania nearly 10% above pre-crisis peak

Non-food retail sales in Romania nearly 10% above pre-crisis peak
By bne IntelliNews January 8, 2021

The retail sales volume index in Romania increased by 3.4% y/y in November, slightly losing momentum from the 4-5% annual growth rates in September-October, the statistics office reported.

The steady improvement, particularly in the non-food area, shows healthy consumer confidence supported by the robust real wage growth (+4.9% y/y in October) and still moderate unemployment rates (5.3% in October, in seasonally adjusted terms up from the 3.7% minimum in January).

The growth pace is expected to ease in January as wages in the public sector are frozen, and the minimum wage will inch up only marginally compared to the leaps seen in previous years.

In November, non-food sales rose by 9.7% y/y, maintaining a robust growth pace although slightly lower than the double-digit rates in September-October. Fuel sales remained down on 2019 (by -7.3% y/y), although the only mobility constraints in November were related to remote working.

Food sales increased by 1.9% y/y in November and lagged (in seasonally adjusted terms) an insignificant 0.2% below the pre-crisis peak hit in February.

Meanwhile, the overall retail sales index (in seasonally adjusted terms) advanced by 0.7% in November versus October, going 1.5% above February pre-crisis level. The weak fuel sales (-12.3% versus February) dragged down the advance. Non-food sales (seasonally adjusted) rose by 9.5% versus February already.