Dutch retail sector recovering, turnover up 1.6 percent

The retail sector in the Netherlands started 2016 with a 1.6 percent turnover increase in the first quarter. The growth mostly attributable to online stores and the food industry, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Friday.

In the first quarter online stores' turnover war 22 percent higher than the previous quarter and 29 percent higher than the first quarter last year. These are stores whose main activity is selling over the internet. The turnover of stores whose internet sales are a secondary activity, so-called multi-channelers - grew by 15 percent compared to the previous quarter.

The food sector saw a sales increase of 2.9 percent. Supermarkets' sales grew by 3.0 percent and the sales of specialty stores grew by 2.3 percent. According to Statistics Netherlands, this increase can be attributed to the fact that Easter fell in March this year instead of April and the fact that February had an extra day because this year is a leap year.

The housing market recovery is also reflected in the turnover of furniture and renovation stores. Do-it-yourself stores saw a turnover increase of 2.2 percent and furniture stores of 2.8 percent.

Consumers also spent more on personal care in the first quarter - drugstores, perfume stores and cosmetics shops booked 3.3 percent more turnover.

Other stores in the non-food sector did not perform so well. Stores specializing in women's clothing had the worst performance with a sales decrease of 11.5 percent, followed closely by shoe stores who saw their turnover drop by 10.4 percent. All in all the turnover for clothing and footwear stores dropped 2.1 percent. Stores selling consumer electronics saw a turnover decrease of 6.8 percent.