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By
Reuters API
Published
Nov 23, 2020
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Polish October retail sales hit by rising Covid-19 case numbers

By
Reuters API
Published
Nov 23, 2020

Polish retail sales fell more than expected in October, statistics office data showed on Monday, as sales of fuels and clothing declined amid spiralling COVID-19 infection rates.




Consumer spending, the main driver of robust growth in emerging Europe's largest economy before the coronavirus pandemic, had rebounded as the economy reopened in the summer. But the onset of autumn saw coronavirus cases rocket, which had a chilling effect on people's willingness to shop.

Retail sales fell 2.1% year-on-year in October. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to fall by 0.3% year-on-year.

"This is a negative surprise, showing that the escalation of the pandemic reduced the propensity to spend at a time when there were no trade restrictions, so you can see that consumers were limiting their consumption themselves," said Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist of Bank Millennium.

The government closed entertainment venues and some shops from Nov. 7 after the surge in COVID-19 cases, but shopping centres will reopen on Saturday.

"In November, we expect a further decline in sales due to the closure of shopping malls. The results are likely to be close to the levels seen in May," Jakub Rybacki, an analyst at the Polish Economic Institute, wrote in a note.
 

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