Romania’s retail sales still 5.4% down y/y in May

Romania’s retail sales still 5.4% down y/y in May
By bne IntelliNews July 7, 2020

Romania’s retail sales volume index, seasonally and workday adjusted, bounced back by 20% in May compared to April after the deep 22% plunge seen in April, according to the country’s statistics office.

Compared to February, before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the index still lags by 9.4%.

In annual terms, the retail sales in May were 5.4% lower than in the same month last year.

The dynamics of separate categories of goods was, as expected, quite different depending on their elasticity to expected incomes as well as on more specific events like the curfew.

Food sales, less volatile by their nature, were down by only 6.0% compared to the pre-crisis level and recorded positive annual growth in May of 5.2% y/y.

Non-food sales were more vulnerable to the lockdown and the consumer confidence shock: they lag by 7.7% behind the pre-crisis level and are 5.3% down y/y.

Online sales (counted by the statistics office as part of the non-food sales) rose significantly, but probably were not as impressive as expected. They were, seasonally adjusted, 20% higher in June compared to February. On an annual basis, the online sales were 66% y/y stronger in June — but part of the increase occurred before the coronavirus crisis. 

Fuel sales are a particular case since the movement restrictions hit them hard. Thus, fuel sales went down 35% m/m in April and only partially recovered in May (+22.3% m/m), remaining 22% lower than in May last year.