Swiss retail turnover reported declining turnover figures in December 2019

Turnover adjusted for sales days and holidays fell in the retail sector by 0.4 % in nominal terms in December 2019 compared with the previous year. Seasonally adjusted, nominal turnover fell by 0.4 % compared with the previous month. These are provisional findings from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Real turnover adjusted for sales days and holidays rose in the retail sector by 0.1 % in December 2019 compared with the previous year. Real growth takes inflation into consideration. Compared with the previous month, real, seasonally adjusted retail trade turnover registered a decline of 0.4 %.

Retail sector excluding service stations

Adjusted for sales days and holidays, the retail sector excluding service stations showed a 0.2 % increase in nominal turnover in December 2019 compared with December 2018 (in real terms +0.7 %). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered a decline in nominal turnover of 0.6 % (in real terms –0.3 %), whereas the non-food sector registered a nominal plus of 0.8 % (in real terms +1.6 %).

Excluding service stations, the retail sector showed a seasonally adjusted decline in nominal turnover of 0.5 % compared with the previous month (in real terms –0.5 %). Retail sales of food, drinks and tobacco registered a nominal minus of 1.3 % (in real terms –1.7 %). The non-food sector showed a minus of 0.1 % (in real terms –0.2 %).

Methodological notice: Unadjusted, adjusted for calendar effects and seasonally adjusted time series are available. A breakdown by commodity groups and by business size is also available: only unadjusted figures are calculated for this breakdown.

The results are presented in index form (2015=100) in both nominal and real terms. The real values are obtained by adjusting the nominal values for price changes using the Swiss Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Data are seasonally adjusted in order to exclude seasonal fluctuations from the time series. This is done using the X12-ARIMA method. On each occasion, the whole time series is re-calculated.

Furthermore, all time series are adjusted for calendar effects (not every month has the same number of sales days and holidays). The method used for calendar adjustment is to estimate the calendar effect by means of a regression model.

For each series, the model calculates an average weight for each individual day of the week and applies these weights to each month. The resulting monthly factors are used to adjust turnover accordingly. The adjustment made in December may be somewhat distorted, as the adjustment factor is applied to turnover for the month of December as a whole, despite the fact that the Christmas turnover is not dependent on the number of weekdays. In December 2016 (and in 2011 and 2005) this effect was particularly noticeable, as Christmas Day and Boxing Day fell on a Saturday and Sunday, meaning that the month had more weekdays of high turnover than usual.

The detailed results for the current month will be published in the next press release in one month’s time, together with first estimates for the following month, and will also be available online on the Statistics Portal:

Information concerning the survey: The retail trade turnover statistics are based on a random sample of approximately 4000 businesses. It is a monthly survey, with small-sized companies being asked to provide monthly turnover figures on a quarterly basis.

The statistics are based on the General Classification of Economic Activities (NOGA) from the year 2008, which meets international standards and classifies businesses into different economic activities based on their economic activities.