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Trade: FMCG grocery sales advance 10 pct in 2020

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 Romania's grocery retail sales were 10 percent up in 2020 compared to the previous year, with sales of alcoholic beverages and food seeing significant growth, shows retail audit data released on Friday by market researcher Nielsen.

By comparison, the European average growth in FMCG grocery sales was 7.6 percent.

According to the cited source, the sales value increased for all product macro-categories, with a maximum advance for foods (+12 pct) and alcoholic beverages (+13.3 pct).

As concerns personal and home care, there was a reversal from the dramatic surge at the onset of the Covid pandemic, of, for example more than 600 percent for hand sanitizers, with the annual advance in this category settling at 5.7 percent. Sales on the make-up segment collapsed 30 percent, just like in other countries.

Sales through Romania's approximately 60,000 traditional stores still account for more than a third of the national total, but are outperformed in terms of the growth rate by the accelerated development of modern trade networks.

The 222 hypermarkets of the four major retailers (Auchan, Carrefour, Cora and Kaufland) sold more than a quarter of the total FMCG value, while the almost 2,600 international supermarkets (Carrefour, DM, MegaImage and Profi) cover a fifth of the total sales' value.

Despite putting up the highest growth rate, the approximately 265 hard discounter stores (Lidl and Penny) account for less than 15 percent of the value of grocery retail.

There was a sharp decline since the start of the pandemic in the Romanians' confidence in their own finances and employment prospects (-22 percentage points and -19 percentage points, respectively), but these indicators remained higher than in the neighboring countries and the European average. However, four in ten Romanians (41 percent) in urban areas said at the end of 2020 that they were still willing to spend extra in the next period, and only 13 percent reported being left with no extra money.

The Nielsen survey found an increase in the savings trend for 43 percent of the respondents, while spending on holidays, clothing or entertainment has decreased significantly. Christmas sales saw only modest, single-digit increases, a far cry from December's usual double-digit surges from the annual monthly average in the previous years.

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