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Retail Sales Mixed in Eurozone

May 2, 2011 12:19 PM   By Ricci Dipshan
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RAPAPORT... Retail sales fell 3.5 percent year on year in March in Germany. Despite Germany’s slump, the Eurozone’s other two major economies – France and the U.K – reported more stable results from the retail sector. The U.K reported a year on year rise of 1.3 percent in March,  according to the Office for National Statistics.  U.K. department stores also increased 1.4 percent.   In France, consumer spending rose 2.6 percent in March and overall retail sales in first quarter were up 1.2 percent, according to INSEE data. 

Preliminary indications show that Eurozone retail sales rose sharply in April, most likely due to the shift in Easter dates. 

The European Retail Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), based upon the Eurozone’s three largest economies remained at 52.2 in April, below the level of 53.5 in March, but stronger than the long-run average of 49.1.  The latest rate of growth signaled by purchasing managers was solid, and consistent with a 0.4 percent rise in expected retail sales on a rolling three-month average as  measured by Eurostat.

Commenting on the retail PMI data, Trevor Balchin, senior economist at Markit, said, "Germany and France remained at the forefront of retail expansion in the Eurozone at the start of quarter-two, with the next-largest economy, Italy, posting another disappointing set of results. The overall rate of sales growth eased from March, mainly reflecting stabilization in France. Elsewhere, faster German growth offset a sharper decline in Italy. The year-on-year comparison was clouded by the later Easter this year, but the trend for the past two months is strong in the context of historic survey data."
Tags: European Retail Purchasing Manager’s Index, Eurozone, France, Germany, retail, retail sales, Ricci Dipshan, Trevor Balchin, u.k., UK
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