Euro zone retail sales were much weaker than expected in April, data showed on Friday, pulled down by principally by reduced purchases of food, drinks and tobacco.
The EU's statistics office said the volume of retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 1.3% month-on-month in April for a 3.9% year-on-year increase. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3 monthly rise and a 5.4 year-on-year gain.
Retail sales had risen in the first three months of the year.
Food, Drinks And Tobacco
Eurostat said sales of food, drinks and tobacco fell 2.6% on the month, while non-food products were down 0.7%, despite a 3.4% increase in online and mail order sales. Motor fuel sales rose 1.9%.
The decline was particularly marked in Germany, the euro zone's largest economy, where sales dropped 5.4% during the month. Eurostat said. Slovenia and Latvia were also weak, while sales in Spain, Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta gained.
From a year earlier, Slovenia (+29.6%), Poland (+21.1%) and Malta (+17.5%) registered the sharpest gains and Finland (-3.4%), Luxembourg (-2.9%) and Belgium (-1.9%) the steepest declines, the data showed.
Elsewhere today, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that world food prices dipped in May for a second consecutive month after hitting a record high in March, although the cost of cereals and meat both rose.
The FAO food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 157.4 points last month versus 158.3 for April.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.