ECONOMY

Supermarket sales post big drop in September

supermarket-sales-post-big-drop-in-september

Supermarket sales recorded the biggest annual decline so far this year in September, amounting to 6.4 percent, reflecting the strong pressure on consumers from the political and economic uncertainty in the month of the elections.

The decline in sales, not only in September but also since spring, replaced the optimism for a rebound at the start of the year, leading nine-month turnover to drop 2.5 percent from the same period last year, according to data collected by IRI. In January-September 2014 the yearly decline from the same period in 2013 had amounted to 0.8 percent.

Notably, the drop in turnover is not so much the result of the fall in prices but rather shrinking sales volumes. In fact, prices posted an increase in many categories from July onward due to the value-added tax hikes.

IRI data showed that sales volumes contracted 1.3 percent in the year to end-September. Even in 2013, the year when gross domestic product contracted 6.1 percent and supermarket turnover fell 3.5 percent, sales volumes only posted a marginal decline of 0.1 percent.

Frozen food outperformed in the third quarter of the year, due to its lower prices in comparison to fresh food and the rush for goods with a longer shelf life immediately after the government introduced the capital controls in late June.