Eurozone Retail Sales Grows Less Than Expected

Euro area retail sales grew less than expected in August, after a decline in the previous month, preliminary data from Eurostat showed Wednesday.

Retail sales rose 0.3 percent month-on-month following a 2.6 percent fall in July, which was revised from 2.3 percent. Economists had forecast 0.8 percent growth.

On a year-on-year basis, Eurozone retail sales remained unchanged in August after a 3.1 percent growth in July. Economists had predicted 0.4 percent gain.

Compared to the previous month, sales of non-food products increased 1.8 percent, while those of automotive fuel dropped 0.1 percent. Sales of food, drinks and tobacco decreased 1.7 percent.

In the EU, retail sales increased 0.3 percent from July, when they fell 2.1 percent. Compared to the same month last year, retail sales rose 1.1 percent after a 3.8 percent growth in July.

Among the member states, Malta, Ireland and Slovakia registered the biggest monthly increases, while the worst declines were seen in Denmark, Estonia and France.

ING economist Bert Colijn said retail sales likely peaked in the second quarter and consumption is set for moderation from here.

Minus a growth in September retail sales likely grew only 0.2 percent in the third quarter after a 3.9 percent jump in the previous three months that was driven by reopenings, the economist reckoned.

“With energy prices soaring, furlough schemes ending and rebound effects waning, we expect consumption growth to fade over the course of the fourth quarter,” Colijn said.

That said, the high savings with Europeans, the low unemployment rate and record high consumer confidence could still lead to above-trend growth in retail sales, the economist added.

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