Retail sales robust despite rising food and petrol prices

Higher interest rates and rising prices for food and fuel put pressure on Sweden’s building materials and electronics sales in June, but the overall retail sales picture remains strong, according to new statistics.

Sales increased by 2.3 percent in June compared with the same month last year, as measured by current prices, according to figures released by Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Research Institute of Trade (HUI).

Higher interest rates and sky-high fuel prices have caused Swedish households to be more careful since the start of the year.

And run away food prices have also reduced families’ purchasing power, a phenomenon confirmed by sales results in the the building materials and electronics retail trade.

“June was a somewhat weaker month than what we’ve seen so far this year and that is seen in particular in the show and jewelry retail sales. Building materials and hardware store sales, which last year increased by around 10 percent, went up only 0.1 percent in June,” said Jessica Lindblom, a retail sales analyst at HUI, to the TT news agency.

“But looking at the retail sales figures overall so far this year, we have an increase of 5.2 percent and that is still a relatively strong growth rate,” she added.

Food prices rose 6.8 percent in June, which caused general grocery store sales to rise by 3.8 percent.

“We’re still spending the same amount of money on food, but we’re now getting less food for the money,” said Lindblom.

Overall, June retail sales figures handily beat analysts’ expectations.