Polish retail sales posted slower-than-expected growth in October, statistics office data showed on Wednesday, as consumers in emerging Europe's largest economy cut back spending due to surging inflation.
Private consumption has been the driving force behind economic growth in Poland in recent years, and the reading, coming just a day after lower-than-forecast industrial output data, signals a further slowdown to come.
Polish nominal retail sales in constant prices rose 0.7% in October according to the statistics office. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to rise by 3.2% year-on-year.
"The picture is rather grim," said Adam Antoniak, senior economist at ING in Warsaw. "The outlook for the final quarter GDP growth is going to be lower than in the previous quarter... and we think that at the beginning of next year we may actually see a negative figure on a year-on-year basis."
Fuel sales fell 20.5% year-on-year according to the data, while sales of furniture, appliances and electronics fell 5.0%.
UOKiK Takes Action
Elsewhere, Poland's consumer watchdog UOKiK has charged four banks, Bank Pocztowy, ING Bank Slaski INGP.WA, Nest Bank and Santander Consumer Bank, with failing to deal appropriately with clients who report unauthorised transactions.
According to UOKiK, money that disappeared from customers' accounts was not returned within the statutory time period and they received misleading responses to complaints.
"Unfortunately ... banks very often fail to meet the statutory obligation to return funds lost as a result of unauthorised transactions, and in addition they mislead consumers," UOKiK head Tomasz Chrostny said in a statement.
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