Swedes shopped till they dropped in 2006

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected] • 30 Jan, 2007 Updated Tue 30 Jan 2007 12:26 CEST

Swedes shopped till more than ever before in 2006. In a record year for retailing, growth reached its highest level since records began in 1990, according to Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Research Institute of Trade (HUI).


Retail turnover for the year amounted to 533 billion kronor, an increase of 7.4 percent or 37 billion kronor on the previous year.

HUI predicts that 2007 will be another good year for retailers, even if growth is not expected to reach the dizzying heights of last year.

"But households will have more money to spend this year. We estimate growth of 5 per cent this year, which is also very good," said spokesman Jonas Arnberg.

Interest rates are a slight worry however. A sharp rise could restrict growth.

"If, for example, there are fewer sales of houses and apartments then there will also be fewer kitchens being renovated. People often borrow an extra 100,000 kronor when buying a house in order to get a new kitchen," said Arnberg.

If interests rates soar the furniture, building and electronics industries could notice a slight pinch. But the effects will not be visible until 2008, says Arnberg.

While it was a very good year all round, Christmas sales were somewhat lower than anticipated.

Retailers of shoes, electronics and sporting goods were expected to perform better than they did in December.

"But over the year as a whole these businesses did extremely well. Sales of shoes went up by 10 percent. The same goes for electronics even though prices fell by 15 percent," said Arnberg.

December is the highlight of the retail year, and seasonally adjusted sales for for the month were up 10.9 percent on the same period in 2005.


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