Sweden has reported an increase in confidence in the future of the non-durable goods trade in March, according to Svensk Handel – a group that represents the retail and wholesale trade in the country.
The non-durable goods trade accounts for all retail trade in addition to food.
The overall future indicator for retail trade increased by 1.1 units to an index of 86.6, which is still well below the neutral level of 100.
The future indicator is a summary measure of traders' expectations of sales, willingness to hire, and profitability over the next three months.
In the grocery trade, e-commerce as well as in wholesale trade, confidence in the future is dampened, with rare-buy trade as the 'only bright spot', Svensk Handel noted.
In March, the future indicator for wholesale trade is expected to decrease by 4.1 units to an index of 91.2.
In 2020, wholesale and motor trade lost SEK63 billion, data from Svensk Handel based on statistics from Statistics Sweden has revealed.
CEO of Svensk Handel, Karin Johansson, said, "The corona pandemic and increased restrictions have meant a tough year for many retailers.
"The trade longs for society to reopen, and when the vaccination has started, traders can glimpse a brighter summer trade on the horizon. That the vaccination process is not stopped further is crucial for the stores."
The future indicator for e-commerce, which has been at a record high in recent times, will decrease by 5.6 units in March to 113.9.
The willingness of online retailers to hire has also declined, the trade body added.
Johansson added, "Growth in e-commerce has been extremely strong, and despite falling future prospects, optimism remains higher than in the same period last year.
"Although growth figures in e-commerce are expected to decline after the corona, we have only seen the beginning of the digital transformation of the industry."