Retail sales in the Czech Republic fell for the ninth consecutive month year-on-year in January

The rate of decline slowed to 7.7 percent from December’s revised 8.1 percent, according to the Czech Statistical Office (CSO), which released the figures on Tuesday. However, on a month-over-month basis, retail sales rose slightly by 0.3 percent.

Jana Gotvaldová, head of the CSO’s trade, transport, and services statistics department, said, “Sales of food and non-food goods recorded lower sales. On the other hand, fuel sales showed a second consecutive month of year-on-year growth in January.” Sales of non-food goods fell by 9.5 percent, while food sales dropped by eight percent.

Meanwhile, traders spent 1.7 percent more on fuel in February than in January last year. Despite lower year-on-year food and higher fuel sales, consumer prices increased year-on-year in both categories in January, according to earlier CSO inflation data. Fuel and heating oil price increases were less pronounced than food prices, rising by 3.2 percent, while food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 24.8 percent.

Despite this, fuel retailers managed to increase sales, unlike food retailers. Sales of food decreased by 8.8 percent in specialty stores and by eight percent in non-specialty stores that predominantly sell food. Sales of non-food items in non-specialty stores fell by 0.6 percent. Internet and mail-order stores saw sales drop by 11.9 percent.

Among non-food items, sales in January fell year-on-year, for example, in specialized stores selling household goods by 14.8 percent, in culture, sport, and recreation goods by one-tenth, in computer and communication equipment by 3.7 percent, and in pharmaceutical and medical goods by 2.6 percent.

However, clothing and footwear sales rose by 5.8 percent, and cosmetics and toiletries by 1.8 percent. On a month-over-month basis, sales rose overall. Fuel sales increased by 2.5 percent, and food sales rose by 1.7 percent. Conversely, sales of non-food goods fell by 1.1 percent. Sales and repair of motor vehicles rose by an even one percent month-on-month.