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Ministry: fuel and food trade secured the biggest retail trade growth in the last 2.5 years

Photo: pixabay.com.
Retail trade turnover in December 2017, when compared with the same month of 2016, had increased 6.4%, demonstrating the most rapid growth since June 2015. This increase was largely secured by growing trade of fuel and food products – 8.3% and 8.8% respectively, as detailed in Finance Ministry’s report.

The ministry notes that turnover of food retail trade in December grew the most rapidly since April 2014. Trade increase was accommodated by growing alcohol sales, when Estonian and Lithuanian residents started using the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages in Latvia for lower prices. At the same time, food product prices in Estonia in December 2017 were 3% below results of a year before.

Fuel trade grew 8.3% in December. It was influenced by fuel price stabilization and expected excise tax increase from 1 January onward.

Finance Ministry notes that growth of turnover of other non-food goods slowed down somewhat in December, growing by only 3.9% when compared with the end of 2016. Of the non-good product goods, the most rapid growth in December 2017 was demonstrated by ICT technologies, metal products, and leisure accessories – 21.1%, 22.2% and 8.9% respectively.

Trade over post and internet stores continues showing decline for several consecutive months. The decline in this sector in December reached 16.9%. Clothes and footwear retail sales declined 2.6% in December. Retail trade volumes of household goods declined 3.5%, and retail trade volumes of pharmaceutical and medical goods declined 3.5%.

Representatives mention that total retail trade turnover grew by a total of 4.2% last year, which is a more rapid increase when compared with 2016. Still, it is somewhat behind results of 2015. In total, retail trade turnover growth was ensured by trade of non-food products, except for fuel, which grew 5.1%. Sales of non-food goods benefited from growing income of residents, with monthly gross wages in the country growing by 7.5%.

Finance Ministry’s report also mentions rapid growth was accomplished by retail trade of food products in 2017. This sector demonstrated more rapid growth rates in the second half of the year after the decline in the first months of the year, growing by 3.9% in total. Retail trade of fuel was weaker – 2.9%.

The ministry also mentions that good perspectives for growth remain in 2018. The mood of Latvian consumers reached the most positive peak since 2006. ESI index is also at its highest since 2007.


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