Retail sales in the Netherlands grew by 8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, driven primarily by higher prices, according to the latest data from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Statistics Netherlands).
Retail sales were higher than a year earlier for the eighth quarter in a row.
From the second quarter of 2022, sales were lower compared to a year earlier.
The retail sector saw more bankruptcies in this quarter compared to previous quarters.
The sector saw 86 bankruptcies in the retail sector in this period, which is more than twice as many as in the same quarter a year earlier.
In the third quarter of 2021, the number of retail bankruptcies was 19.
Since then, the number of bankruptcies has increased for six quarters in a row, Statistics Netherlands noted.
In the food category, sales increased by 9% compared to a year earlier, but the volume of sales fell by 5%.
Supermarkets recorded higher sales, while speciality shops, such as butchers and cheese shops, also saw a higher turnover. Volume for the quarter fell by 11%.
In the non-food segment, sales increased by almost 8% compared to a year earlier, driven by higher prices.
The volume of sales in the non-food sector fell by almost 1%, data showed, with DIY shops seeing volume of sales down 11% and a 3% decline in sales.
Online sales declined by more than 1% during the first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Stores that sell both online and through shops, saw sales declining by 10%, while for businesses selling only online, sales were almost 6% higher, data showed.
At the start of the second quarter, retailers said they were slightly negative about the economic climate in the next three months, according to a survey by Conjunctuurenquête Nederland (COEN) .
This is balanced by 4% of business owners saying they expect the economic climate to deteriorate.
Moreover, 2% of retail entrepreneurs expect prices to rise further in the next three months.
The cohort included in the survey is considerably smaller than in previous quarters.
Conjunctuurenquête Nederland (COEN) conducts surveys on entrepreneurs about recent developments and expectations for the coming months in every quarter.