Eurozone retail trade suffers sharp decline

Chris Papadopoullos
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RETAIL sales across the 18 countries of the Eurozone sank 1.3 per cent in September, data showed yesterday, in another sign that slumping demand is hurting the European economy.

Germany, usually the Eurozone’s economic engine, suffered the biggest drop, losing 3.2 per cent in one month, the EU’s official Eurostat agency said.

It was followed by a 2.5 per cent fall in Portugal, which completed a huge debt bailout programme earlier this year after adopting a raft of tough economic reforms.

Rises in retail sales came only in smaller Eurozone countries, such as Malta, Luxembourg and Austria.

“Hopes that consumer spending could have made a decent contribut­ion to Eurozone GDP in the third quarter were seemingly dashed as retail sales volumes fell back,” said economist Howard Archer from market analysts IHS.

The September dip has put a sudden halt to a retail sales recovery and is consistent with weaker data from private surveys such as purchasing managers’ indices.

Over the past year, Eurozone retail sales have grown only 0.6 per cent, hardly enough to stave off the threat of a triple-dip recession.