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'The trend is heading in the right direction'

Optimism is increasing within the Swedish trade sector

Lower inflation and anticipated interest rate cuts in the near future are causing future expectations to rise among Swedish traders. However, despite this, optimism remains low from a historical perspective. This is shown by the Svensk Handel Trade Barometer for the month of March.

Optimism within the trade sector is heading in the right direction, but still, retail trade, e-commerce, and wholesale trade remain below the neutral value of 100, which means that Swedish traders continue to be predominantly pessimistic about the next three months based on the number of employees, profitability, and sales. However, the figures for this month indicate that optimism within the trade sector has increased for the third consecutive month.

'After tough years, the trade sector, like many other industries, senses that better times are ahead. We hope that this positive trend continues. The trade sector needs breathing space and positive figures after the challenges of recent years. We can conclude that the trend is heading in the right direction,' says Sofia Larsen, CEO of the Swedish Trade.

Expectations rise for discretionary spending ahead of spring. The arrival of spring means that discretionary spending prepares for consumers to purchase clothing and products suitable for warmer weather. This optimism is driving retail trade to increase by 2.8 units this month, resulting in an indicator value of 85.0. The sub-industry is now at a level not seen in the past 1.5 years.

'Seasonal variations benefit large parts of the trade sector, as we know from before. Now we are heading towards warmer times, which means that many industries expect increased sales. However, it is important that the positive signals indicating we are heading in the right direction continue. It will be very interesting to see which path the Central Bank chooses with the interest rate announcement later this week,' says Sofia Larsen.

Strong start to the year for e-commerce. The positive trend in e-commerce continues, with the sub-industry showing a significant increase of 5.8 units in March's Trade Barometer. This brings the indicator value to 95.4, not very far from the neutral value of 100, which would imply a de facto positive outlook for the next three months.

'The future expectations of e-commerce are now at levels not seen since June 2022. Optimism within the sub-industry has increased significantly from low levels during 2024. It is evident that many e-retailers are hopeful for a commercially stronger spring than last year,' says Sofia Larsen.

More information:
Svensk Handel

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