Romanian retail sales are expected to fall by 4.6 percent this year, pushing sales levels back to their 2007 level, a report prepared by analytical advisory firm Candole shows. The drop follows another one of 10 percent in 2009. The decline comes against the background of a contracting economy. The biggest decline was registered in June of last year when sales fell by 16.4 percent. Food and furnishings spending have seen dramatic cuts, the report shows, while sales of fuel have dropped dramatically as well as transportation needs have reduced in a shrinking economy.
The one category of sales that didn’t go down but actually kept growing throughout the recession is that of clothing. With this, Romania stands out among other countries in the region surveyed by the Candole report.
The report doesn’t foresee recover for retail sales until 2011, with factors such as government austerity measures hindering growth. “The mere announcement of the intentions shrank the confidence indicators in most sectors, which is likely to show in retail sales figures as well,” the report shows.
Within the region, retail sales have dropped in 2009 in five out of the six countries the report reviews. The reviewed countries are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic. The percentage of decline in sales depended on when the crisis hit in each country. A 7.2 percent decline in sales is projected for Hungary this year, while for Bulgaria a 6 percent contraction is expected. In the Czech Republic, retail sales fell by 6 percent in 2009, after years of consecutive growth, with the stronger local market made sales less volatile than in the other countries. The report predicts a 0 percent growth here for this year.
Poland was the only country where retail sales grew in 2009, but growth this year is expected to be less than 1 percent. Slovak retail sales fell by 12 percent last year but a 2 percent growth is predicted for this year as the economy is growing quickly.