Retail sales in Hungary rose by an annual 5.8 percent in September, data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Friday show.
The increase accelerated from 4.6 percent in the previous month. Adjusted for calendar year effects, retail sales rose also by 5.8 percent. Adjusted food sales increased by 3.0 percent and non-food sales climbed 8.1 percent. Vehicle fuel sales rose by 8.4 percent.
Sales of clothing and footwear shops jumped 23.2 percent, sales of second-hand shops climbed 16.2 percent and sales of pharmacies rose by 9.8 percent. Online and mail-order sales increased by 18.7 percent. Sales of furniture and appliance stores fell 6.1 percent.
In absolute terms, retail sales reached 1,194 billion forints (€ 3.3 billion), at current prices. Food sales accounted for 45 percent of the total, non-food sales for 38 percent and vehicle fuel sales 17 percent.
For the period January-September, retail sales rose by an annual 2.8 percent, according to both unadjusted and adjusted data. Adjusted food sales were up 1.9 percent, non-food sales rose by 4.2 percent and vehicle fuel sales increased by 3.3 percent.
ING Bank senior analyst Péter Virovacz said the data were “a positive surprise”. Vehicle fuel sales, climbing with the start of the school year, gave a boost to headline sales, he added.
Daniel Molnár, an analyst with economic researcher Századvég, said retail sales growth may have accelerated in part because of the low base, but the ongoing recovery of the tourism industry, higher wages and expanding employment were also contributing factors.