February sales were revised from a drop of 1.4 percent.
Adjusted for calendar year and seasonal effects, retail sales were up 0.5 percent in March from the same month a year earlier and were almost flat in the first quarter compared to same period a year earlier.
In nominal terms, retail sales totalled 645.2 billion forints in March, down from 552.0 billion in the previous month.
Retail sales in March were better than expected, analysts told MTI after KSH released the data.
Erste Bank’s Zoltan Arokszallasi said most market players had expected retail sales to decline in March. He said that the headline figure may have been lifted by purchases in the run-up to the Easter holiday, noting that food sales climbed a remarkable 2.7 percent. Arokszallasi added, however, that the data were unlikely to have been so positive in April.
Magyar Takarekszovetkezeti Bank chief analyst Gergely Suppan also said a decline in retail sales had been expected for March. He added that the fresh data could contribute to an upward revision of Hungary’s first quarter GDP in a second reading.