Eurozone retail sales were much weaker than expected in April, data showed Friday, driven mainly by reduced purchases of food, drink and tobacco.
The EU statistics office said retail sales volume in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 1.3% month-on-month in April, up 3.9% year-on-year. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3 month rise and a 5.4 year-on-year gain.
Retail sales had increased in the first three months of the year.
Food, beverages and tobacco
Eurostat said sales of food, drink and tobacco products fell 2.6% on the month, while non-food products fell 0.7%, despite a 3.4% increase in sales online and by correspondence. Motor fuel sales increased by 1.9%.
The decline was particularly marked in Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, where sales fell 5.4% during the month. says Eurostat. Slovenia and Latvia were also weak, while sales in Spain, Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta increased.
Compared to a year earlier, Slovenia (+29.6%), Poland (+21.1%) and Malta (+17.5%) recorded the highest increases and Finland (-3.4 %), Luxembourg (-2.9%) and Belgium (-1.9%) the largest declines, according to the data.
Elsewhere today, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said global food prices fell in May for a second consecutive month after hitting a record high in March, although that the cost of grain and meat has increased.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the world’s most traded food commodities, averaged 157.4 points last month from 158.3 in April.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM- your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to register ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.