Swiss retail sales are set to drop 4.1% this year after pent-up demand during pandemic-hit 2021 dissipates and shoppers return to normal patterns of spending, Credit Suisse analysts said on Wednesday.
The amount spent on food, which benefited from a closure of restaurants last year and limited competition from cross-border shopping in cheaper countries, such as Germany and France, is expected to decline by 5.5%.
Non-food shopping is expected to drop by 2.8% in 2022, Credit Suisse said in its retail outlook report, one of the first forward-looking economic analyses of the year.
Still, after a 2.4% increase in overall retail spending in 2021, Swiss shops should still do better than during the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the authors of the study said.
They forecast food retailing 4.5% above 2019 levels and non-food retail 2.1% higher.
"We expect a decline from 2021 levels this year as many of the positive factors which drove sales will be absent," said Credit Suisse economist Tiziana Hunziker.
"Last year people bought long-lasting goods like computers, skis or furniture, while in other areas like DIY and hobby products people have stocked up," she added. "Still, I think we will be above pre-crisis levels."
Estimates indicate that in 2020 retail revenues totalled about 99 billion Swiss francs ($108.17 billion) and last year have likely surpassed the 100 billion franc level for the first time.
Retail consultant Martin Hotz said while the food sector had a good 2021, other areas like shoes and fashion were nervous and looking to cut costs.
Swiss retail sales were 1.2% higher in October compared with the same month a year earlier. . November figures are due on Jan. 7.
Neighbouring Germany on Tuesday reported its retail sales rose unexpectedly in November despite renewed COVID-19 restrictions.
($1 = 0.9152 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by John Revill Editing by Tomasz Janowski)