Eurozone Retail Sales Rise Strongly In November 2018
Eurozone retail sales rose more than expected in November 2018 for a second consecutive month, as consumers bought more clothes and electrical goods, official data released on Monday showed, in a positive sign for the bloc's growth in the last quarter.
The European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, estimated retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro were up 0.6% month-on-month, higher than the 0.1% rise forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
On the year, retail trade was up by 1.1%.
Eurostat also revised upwards October data to a 0.6% month-on-month gain from a previous 0.3% reading, and to a 2.3% rise year-on-year from a previous 1.7% increase.
Better-Than Expected Figures
The better-than expected figures, although highly volatile and subject to frequent revisions, are positive news for the eurozone economy and could point to stronger growth in the last quarter of the year.
The bloc's economy grew by just 0.2% in the third quarter, slowing from a 0.4% GDP rise in the second quarter. Before retail figures were released, the gloomier mood among eurozone purchasing managers in December had pushed some economists to forecast that growth in the last quarter of the year would also be slow.
November retail trade was driven up mostly by consumers' appetite for clothes and footwear, whose sales grew in volume by 2.7% on the month. Purchases of electrical goods, such as televisions, were also up by 1.5% month-on-month.
The higher retail trade figures were also caused by greater sales of medicines, which increased by 1.3% on the month. Sales of automotive fuel and online goods also rose.
The rise in sales in these sectors more than offset a 0.9% month-on-month fall in purchases of food, drinks and tobacco.