Estonia's retail sector has had a better start to 2023 than expected. While customers are spending less at grocery stores due to high prices, clothing and technology sales have risen.
At the end of 2022, the Bank of Estonia forecast a fall in consumption at the start of this year. But this has not occurred, statistics show.
Kaubamaja managing director Erkki Laugus said inflation is pushing up prices, but customers are still spending.
"January, which is clearly the end of the season and a sale month for us in fashion, has been busier than expected this year. It is fair to say that clothing sales are very good and turnover is certainly as expected or even better," he told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".
Across the store, sales of cosmetics are rising but the situation is more difficult with food, which has seen the largest increases in price.
Supermarket chain Grossi has higher footfall than at the same time last year, but customers are making smaller purchases and spending less money.
"If you ask about the physical volume of goods, it's stayed about the same, there's been no change, maybe a little less. But there is an inflation increase," Oleg Gross, owner of OG Elektra, told AK.
The company is gaining customers as shoppers have changed their habits and are now visiting cheaper stores than before.
People are also saving less money.
Electronics retainers say that big purchases, such as washing machines, are sold in the same numbers as before. This type of purchase cannot be delayed.
"Compared to the same time last year, the first two weeks at the beginning of the year were relatively similar, with the third week already showing an improvement of almost 30 percent," said Expert marketing manager Laura Laanjärv.
As energy prices continue to fall, retailers are optimistic that consumer confidence will improve and rise again.
Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera