The confidence of Swedish traders has been undermined by the uncertain environment caused by rising prices and the war in Ukraine, according to the latest data from Svensk Handel – a group that represents the retail and wholesale trade in the country.
The trade barometer for March showed a decline in expectations in all areas of trade compared to the previous month.
Svensk Handel’s Future Indicator summarises retailers' beliefs about future sales, employment and profitability over the next three months, with the value of 100 indicating a neutral level.
The wholesale trade indicator declined by 6.4 points, to 92.1, impacted by changes in international trade flows.
The wholesale segment is also the part of the retail sector that considers it necessary to increase its stocks in the near future, Svensk Handel noted.
Johan Davidson, chief economist at Svensk Handel, said, “The aftermath of the war in Ukraine is adding new uncertainty to the wholesale sector.
“After more than a year of skyrocketing freight costs and delivery delays, as well as price increases for diesel and petrol, there are now further problems in the supply chain, which is hampering confidence in the future.”
Retail And E-commerce
The trade barometer for the physical retail sector declined by 0.7 points to 95.1 points, which is below the neutral level of 100 and indicates negative expectations for the future.
Davidson commented, “More people have found their way back to the stores after the pandemic, which is reflected in the reasonably positive tone of sales in the retail sector. However, new uncertainties, such as high inflation, are lowering expectations in the retail sector.”
E-commerce emerged as the only segment that reported a marginal positive future indicator with a value of 100.2.
However, this is a clear drop of three points compared to the previous month, when the figure stood at 103.2.
“E-commerce confidence has declined since the pandemic restrictions were lifted and more people are shopping in physical stores. Now there is the added aspect of uncertain times, high inflation and households tightening their purse strings,” Davidson concluded.