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Shops selling furniture and electric household appliances reported a 25.6 per cent increase in sales, while radio and television retailers increased their sales by 22.2 per cent in March. Retail sales of pharmaceutical goods and medical and orthopedic goods increased by 20.4 and 29.3 per cent respectively.
Sales of computers, office machines and telecommunications equipment increased 48 per cent in March this year compared to March last year. Sales are up 31.5 per cent so far this year compared to the same period last year, according to Statistics Norway's index of retail sales.
Easter affects sales in April and March
The sales indices for March 1997 and March 1998 are difficult to compare because of the Easter holiday. In 1997 Easter was in March, while this year it was in April. The seasonally adjusted volume index takes the placement of Easter into account, although it is difficult to correct for Easter. The seasonally adjusted indices for April and March are accordingly more uncertain than the other indices. The seasonally adjusted volume index for retail sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline is 106.2 per cent in March this year. This is approximately the same as the seasonally adjusted index for February this year.
The value index for retail trade excluding motor vehicles and gasoline rose five per cent from March 1997 to March 1998. This is 0.1 per cent lower that the preliminary figures published 24 April this year. The price index rose 2.2 per cent during the same period.
Weekly Bulletin issue no. 20, 1998