Retail sales in Romania posted an impressive 42.7% y/y growth rate in April, mostly as a result of the low base effects created by the lockdown in the same month last year when sales contracted by 19.4% y/y.
Food sales (still possible during the lockdown) rose by 21% y/y, while non-food sales (most of them unavailable during lockdown) surged by 63% y/y and the fuel sales (available in principle, but not needed because of mobility restrictions) advanced by 56% y/y in April 2021.
What is more encouraging is that the annualised growth rate calculated over the past two years — namely the growth from April 2021 compared to April 2019, annualised — which is a measure that filters out the effects of the lockdown last year, has stabilised for the third month around 7.2% (7.3% in April).
This is not far from the trend growth rate in the pre-crisis period, which reached its peak (7.8%) in February 2020.
Considering that mobility was in April still far from normal, retail sales’ recovery to robust growth can be described as full — although differentiated among categories of goods.
The two-year annualised growth (7.3% for all categories of goods, in April) was just above average for food goods (+7.5%), well above average (+12.1%) for non-food goods and negative (-1.8%) for fuels. The outstanding rise in non-food sales reflects robust consumer confidence and it adds to the macroeconomic confidence indicator compiled based on a poll among CFA analysts, which fully recovered to the past years’ high in May.
*Technically, the trend growth rate is calculated as the annual growth rate of the 12-month sales and it smooths volatility. The trend growth calculated as of April 2021, which still includes base effects, returned to 5.5% recovering quickly from 0.8% in February.