Retail sales continue to fall, and food sales have reached an all-time low

Retail sales in the Czech Republic fell by 3.6 percent year-on-year last year, compared with a 4.4 percent increase a year earlier. In December, retailers’ sales fell for the eighth consecutive month on a year-on-year basis, but the decline slowed to 7.3 percent from November’s revised 8.9 percent. The decline in sales in the year’s final month affected both food and non-food sales, with food sales hitting their lowest level since 2001, the start of the survey.

Month-on-month, December sales fell 0.7 percent in real terms. This was revealed by data published on the Czech Statistical Office (CSO) website.

For the whole of 2022, food and non-food goods sales fell by 5.1 percent and 2.9 percent year-on-year, respectively. According to the CSO, retailers earned 1.5 percent less fuel than in 2021 and 4.2 percent less for motor vehicle sales and repairs.

Last December, grocery stores had sales down 10.2 percent year-over-year, non-food stores were down 7.5 percent, and fuel sales were up 5.6 percent. “After seven months of continuous decline, fuel showed a year-on-year growth in sales in December,” added Jana Gotvaldová, head of the CSO’s statistics department for trade, transport, and services.

Almost all specialized stores suffered

Almost all specialized stores saw a year-on-year decline in December. Sales to shops selling household goods fell by 11.4 percent, those to computer shops by one-tenth, and those to shops selling culture, sport, and recreation products by 4.8 percent. Drugstore sales were down 0.8 percent from December 2021, and clothing and footwear had sales that were 0.7 percent lower.

In December, sales to online and mail-order stores also fell by nearly 11 percent. Pharmaceutical and medical stores did better, with sales up about four percent year-on-year.

The sales figure excludes motor vehicle sales and repairs. Sales for these activities increased by 0.3 percent year-on-year in December and were 0.7 percent higher than in November. In sub-figures, spending on motor vehicle sales, including parts, was up 2.6 percent year-on-year, while expenditures for repairs were down 6.7 percent.

As adjusted for the full year last year, motor vehicle sales, repair, and maintenance revenues were down 4.2 percent from 2021 after rising 8.3 percent the year before.