Euro retail sales fail to stage a late comeback

Chris Papadopoullos
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EUROZONE retail sales fell at their slowest rate for five months, survey data revealed yesterday.

The Eurozone retail purchasing managers’ index (PMI) – a survey of private sector firms compiled by Markit – climbed to 48.9 in November from 47 in October. However, the number remains below 50 and so signifies contraction.

Retail sales have now fallen for five consecutive months but November marks the slowest rate of decline.

The figures were most positive for Germany – the Eurozone’s largest economy – which saw a PMI score of 52.8, implying marginal growth.

Italy and France registered PMIs of 44.2 and 47.9 respectively. Germany’s healthier retail sales PMI was complimented by its construction PMI, also released today.

The construction PMI rose to 53.5 in November from October’s 51.5. The figure marks a nine-month high.

The only data going against Germany is GDP growth, which figures last month showed lagged even behind that of France.

Phil Smith, economist at Markit, casts doubt over whether the improving trends will continue.

“Gross margins – often a good gauge of the retails sector’s underlying health – fell across each of the big-three in November, with frequent mentions made among panellists of heavy discounting,” he said.

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