Sustained downturn retail trade sector

  • Retail turnover fourth quarter 1.7 percent down
  • Negative growth non-food sector slows down
  • Negligible turnover growth supermarkets

In the fourth quarter of 2013, retail turnover was 1.7 percent down from the last quarter of 2012. The decline is about the same as in the two preceding quarters. Retail prices were at the same level as one year previously. On a quarterly basis, this was the smallest price increase over the past four years, partly due to the fact that the impact of the VAT rate increase introduced on 1 October 2012 is no longer noticeable. Retail volume was 1.8 percent down from the fourth quarter of 2012. In the third quarter, retail volume had shrunk by nearly 4 percent as the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands show.

Turnover generated by the non-food sector was more than 3 percent below the level of the fourth quarter of 2012. Volume declined by nearly 3 percent. The decline was less substantial than in the third quarter. Prices were on average marginally below the level of one year previously. Home furnishing shops, consumer electronics shops, DIY shops and clothing shops faced further loss of turnover, although less than in the third quarter. Chemist’s shops and household appliances shops recorded a higher negative turnover growth than in the preceding quarter, but textile supermarkets achieved turnover growth relative to twelve months previously.

Food, drinks and tobacco shops showed a mixed picture. Supermarket sales were only just above the level of the last quarter of 2012, but turnover growth was below the level of the third quarter of 2013, because prices in this branch rose less rapidly and volume declined more than in the previous quarter. Turnover realised by specialist shops fell less rapidly than in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, mail-order firms and online shops welcomed the largest turnover growth (12.4 percent) since the fourth quarter of 2010. December was a very good month. Turnover in the last month of 2013 was nearly 20 percent higher than in December 2012.