"It is natural that the start of the year is difficult for retailers and there is no reason to dramatize the situation. The downward trend is due to objective factors, because consumer optimism about future plans has weakened. They are worried to what extent the situation in other European countries and their debt issues will spread to Lithuania. This is weighing down on consumer sentiment. It is possible that the downward trend will continue throughout the first half of this year," she told BNS.
Lithuania's retail sales, excluding car sales and repairs, fell by 6.6 percent in February compared with January to 1.858 billion litas (EUR 538.55 m). Year-on-year, retail sales were up by 7.3 percent, provisional data from Statistics Lithuania showed on Wednesday.
Month-on-month, food retailers saw their sales drop by 3.7 percent, and non-food retailers, by 10.5 percent. Automotive fuel retailers posted a 3.8 percent decline in sales. The largest monthly decreases were in sales via mail order or via the Internet, by 28.5 percent, and in clothes sales at specialized stores, by 23.4 percent.
Year-on-year, food product sales rose by 1.8 percent, non-food product sales, by 15.7 percent, and automotive fuel sales, by 3.5 percent.
Car and motorcycle wholesalers and retailers and repair service providers posted 530.6 million litas in sales for February -- up by 4.1 percent from January and up by 4.3 percent from a year ago.
Food and beverage service providers' sales last month totaled 79.1 million litas, down by 12.3 percent month-on-month, but up by 27.2 percent from a year ago, the statistics office said.