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UPDATE 1-Polish retail sales return to growth in July

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Aug 21 (Reuters) - Polish retail sales returned to growth in July, statistics office data showed on Friday, in a boost for the largest economy in the European Union’s eastern wing as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Private consumption fuelled by rising wages and generous state benefits had been the motor of Poland’s economic growth in recent years, although there had been signs of a slowdown even before the arrival of the virus.

Nominal retail sales rose 2.7% in July, the statistics office data showed. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to fall by 0.4% year-on-year.

“Today’s data confirm the V-shape rebound scenario and this is proof that the rebound is progressing well,” said Piotr Bartkiewicz, an economist at Pekao SA.

“It is worth remembering, however, that retail sale is only one of the elements of consumption and does not show the full condition of the consumer,” he said.

The biggest gains were seen in the sales of durable goods such as furniture, household appliances and electronics. Sales in this category rose 16.8% for the second month in a row

Statistics office data also showed construction falling 10.9% year-on-year in July. (Reporting by Monika Czeremanska and Anna Pruchnicka in Gdansk and Alicja Ptak in Warsaw; Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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