Polish retail sales grew 5.7% y/y in constant prices in December, the statistics office GUS said on January 23.
The reading marks a gain of 0.5pp in retail turnover growth in comparison to the y/y expansion recorded in November. The expansion in December is hardly a surprise even if it fell slightly short of consensus. Poles’ robust consumer spending is driven by the good situation on the labour market, growing wages in particular.
The Law and Justice (PiS) government also expanded its flagship programme of monthly child benefit of PLN500 (€114) to encompass virtually all children in Poland. That also had an effect on consumption although analysts expect that to wither in 2020.
Driven by consumption, Poland’s GDP growth came in at 5.1% y/y in 2018, the fastest expansion in over a decade. The economy slowed down its growth to an unadjusted 3.9% y/y (4% y/y upon adjustment) in the third quarter – still a show of resilience amidst the worsening of the external environment.
All but one retail segments expanded y/y sales in constant prices in December, GUS data showed. Turnover in the domestic appliances, furniture, and audio-video equipment segment grew the fastest, at 13.6% y/y, followed by an expansion of 10.6% y/y in sales in “in non-specialised stores”.
Fuel sales grew 4.5% y/y. Food, drinks, and tobacco products was the only segment to see turnover decline, by 0.2% y/y, data showed.
In monthly terms, retail sales surged 14.1% in constant prices after falling 2.4% m/m in January.
In current prices, retail sales grew 7.5% y/y in December versus an expansion of 5.9% y/y the preceding month. In monthly terms in current prices, there was a jump of 14.6% that followed a fall of 2.3% m/m in the eleventh month. Sales accelerating m/m owed to increased spending during the Christmas season.
In 2019, retail sales grew 5.4% y/y in constant prices and 6.7% y/y in current prices, GUS also said.