Czech shopping splurge confirmed with June figures

Photo: Barbora Němcová

Surging domestic demand was one of the key reasons with which Czech National Bank governor Jiří Rusnok justified Thursday’s 20 basis point hike in the key interest rate to 0.25 percent.

Photo: Barbora Němcová
And as if on cue, the Czech Statistical Office rolled out its figures for June retail sales a day later showing a shopping splurge by locals in shops and over the Internet .

The June figures show 6.6 percent growth in retail sales, both adjusted for the number of days in the month and ignoring that factor. Not surprisingly, most of the increased spending is on non-food items, up 8.0 percent, with food sales up 3.7 percent.

And the splurge is across the board: clothes and footwear up 10.9 percent, culture and recreation climbing 7.3 percent, information and communications rising 6.2 percent, and household equipment up 4.9 percent.

The latest figures follow on from an annual 5.9 percent non-adjusted, 6.9 percent adjusted, increase in retail sales in May. And, for the first half of the year the rise in sales stands at 5.2 percent compared with the first six months of 2016.

Higher wages, more in work, reduced worries of unemployment, are all factors contributing to the domestic spending boom. The relatively low US dollar compared with the crown has also cut the price for many electronic goods.

Even the tentative hike in interest rates decided by the central bank on Thursday is not likely to curb the spending flow for the rest of the year. Another figure for June, a 19.4 percent year-on-year advance in sales over the Internet and from mail order companies.

Analysts say that the rise in Internet sales still has some way to go with some sectors, such as Do-It-Yourself and discount stores still having to plug into fully into the phenomenon.