Retail sales in the Eurozone unexpectedly fell for the second month in a row in May, in a sign that consumer spending is weakening in the struggling area.
The volume of retail trade fell by 0.3 per cent in May compared to April, the European Union’s data body Eurostat said today. Economists had predicted a rise of 0.3 per cent.
The poor figures were partially offset by the fall in retail sales for April being revised up to 0.1 per cent from 0.4 per cent.
Policymakers in the 19-member Eurozone will be worried by the news of people spending less at a tough time for the area’s economic health.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said the “highly challenging and uncertain” global environment meant the prospects “do not look bright for business investment and exports”.
“So it looks like the best prospects for growth in the Eurozone comes from consumers,” he said.
For example in Germany, the government has predicted that domestic demand helped by higher wages will provide a boost to the floundering economy in 2020.
But consumers also bought fewer goods in the European Union as a whole in May. Retail sales fell by 0.4 per cent compared to April, Eurostat said today.
In the euro area, trade volumes were dragged down by a 1.3 per cent decrease in sales of car fuel and a 0.5 per cent drop in food, drinks and tobacco.
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The 28-member EU saw a 1.6 per cent decline in car fuel sales in terms of volume.